Royal Caribbean Spectrum of the Seas review – My first cruise and it was way more enjoyable than I could have imagined!

February 23, 2024

Are you a cruise veteran or virgin? When you think of a cruise do you picture a fun filled exotic holiday or do you dream of laying around watching far away islands pass by? Or do you just imagine an expensive cramped holiday with long queues?

When Royal Caribbean extended this media trip to me and my family to experience Spectrum of the Seas, I was excited about the opportunity. I had never been on a cruise before besides having stepped foot on another Royal Caribbean ship back in 2012 for a media preview. The high price point had put me off for years and there was the COVID-19 pandemic.

Picture taken from the North Star, which is a glass capsule ride that brings you 300-feet above sea level for breathtaking 360-degree views!

But, after this recent voyage, I realised a cruise trip may not be as expensive as I once thought. More on this later but first, let me tell you how our experience on the Spectrum of the Seas was.


To make the best of the trip, a little groundwork has to be done prior to the commencement of the trip. If you want to spend as much time as possible on the trip, make sure you download the Royal Caribbean app as soon as possible, and indicate your preferred boarding time. 11am seems to be the earliest and most people would want to do that. There is some benefit in choosing a later timing though, say 2pm, as you can then saunter into the Marina Bay Cruise Centre after the initial crowd had dispersed.

We of course, wanting to maximise the time, arrived at 11am straight into a chock a block Marina Bay Cruise Centre. It was all very smooth sailing and orderly though, from checking in our luggage to clearing the immigration process. It’s a bit weird they collect your check-in luggage outside of the cruise centre entrance, yes the non-air conditioned area, but it is what it is. We eventually boarded the ship at close to 1pm. Not bad I suppose, when you remember that the ship’s capacity is close to 5000 passengers.

There is a way to skip the queues if you are willing to pay, and that is to get The Key, aka the VIP programme. We didn’t have that so I am not able to comment on it personally, but we have a friend who paid for it once and she said it allowed her to skip the queues including the queue for activities onboard the ship.

How to get your keys and your luggage after you’ve boarded the cruise?

One thing that surprised us was that the keys to our stateroom, as well as our checked in luggage would be placed outside our respective rooms. The keys would usually be ready around 1pm while the luggage may take up to 6pm to arrive. I was a little anxious about whether this would pose a security issue. What if someone stole our key or our luggage? I suppose the person would not be able to run very far and there would be CCTVs around? Anyway we obtained our keys and luggage without any drama.

Our Balcony Stateroom

We were given a stateroom with a balcony on the 8th floor, mid-ship but slightly towards the front, starboard side, directly next to the elevators. At first I was worried that we might be disturbed by the noise of people using the elevators, but I found it wasn’t noticeable. It was in fact greatly convenient to be very near the elevators as the ship is massive and there will be occasions when you need to walk from one end of the ship to the other.

Loved our cosy little room. It was modern looking, looked new and clean. The colour palette of blue and woody hues also suits me. The 18.4sqm stateroom + 5 sqm balcony footprint is smaller than that of most luxury hotels in Singapore (let’s not compare the budget ones). But due to the astute placement of the furniture, we didn’t feel cramped at all and had ample space to move around. If you require the sofa bed to be opened up to accommodate 4 persons in the room, then yes it is a struggle to walk past the sofa bed. Luckily for us, only our 7 year old would be using the sofa bed so we left it in its original sofa configuration.

Storage is plentiful

Storage space is plentiful in the room. There are 2 closets, lots of shelves, drawers and even more drawers above the bed. I was wowed by the number of hangers provided in the closet. The closets have door handles where you can hang things on them. The bathroom boasts a luxurious 8 hooks, the most I’ve ever seen in any accommodation I’ve stayed in. All these make it convenient for us to empty our suitcases and stash them away to the side. Hotels really ought to take a leaf from Royal Caribbean.

Get a balcony if you can

We totally enjoyed having a balcony in our room. There’s something about being able to just step away from the room and watch the ship gliding through the waters. Yes it can be done on the top decks where there are a gazillion lounge chairs provided, but I like to also be able to take in small doses of the view whenever I feel like it. And of course, it makes the room feel larger when you are able to look far out, with the wind in your hair. And if you’re lucky enough to be facing the correct direction, you might even be able to enjoy the sunrise in the comfort of your own room.

Bathroom tips

The bathroom is undoubtedly tiny. I don’t know how Royal Caribbean does it but the design makes it feel less cramped than you would think is possible. Several shelves for you to put your toiletries, and yes those 8 hooks (if I didn’t count wrongly) are just the thing you need when you have 4 persons worth of bath towels to hang up plus clothes. I don’t know why hotels can’t provide more hooks when they have so much more space to work with?

The room comes with a soap bar and 2-in-1 body wash and shampoo, so I’d recommend you bring your own toiletries. To be more environmentally friendly, other toiletries such as disposable toothbrushes, toothpaste and combs aren’t provided either. Do be prepared to bring your own! Otherwise, I believe there is a small convenience store should you need to purchase such items.

Food glorious food – Much of it is complimentary!

One of the perks of going on a cruise, as compared to staying in a hotel, is that all 3 meals are provided. This was certainly one of the biggest highlights for me and my family. No need to worry about food, everyone can order what they want and as much as they want!

Those who love buffets can head to Windjammer, while those who prefer plated service and a more leisurely pace can visit the Main Dining Room where you order from an ala-carte menu. With 2 kids in tow, we felt more comfortable dining at the Main Dining Room. For one it was much more peaceful, and for another, we didn’t have to constantly get up to get more food for the children. The food also arrives in a presentable manner. The Main Dining Room does require a reservation or you might have to wait a while.

That is not to say that Windjammer is no good. I inquired about this with a staff member and was told that there are guests who want to just get their food as fast as possible without having to wait. And also, the variety at Windjammer is much larger. The 1 time I went to Windjammer was at breakfast and I noted they had an International cuisine station as well as a noodle bar. Also, the views are way better at Windjammer due to the huge glass windows running along almost the entire restaurant. Perfect spot for taking selfies with your food!

The Main Dining Room was our favourite place for food when we weren’t at the specialty restaurants

View of the 3rd and 4th floor of the Main Dining room, from the 5th deck

Although there are also some premium restaurants on the cruise which require an additional fee, the food at the Main Dining Room is actually quite good. I was amazed at the quality of my steak during dinner as well as the variety of food on the menu. And you are not limited to just 1 option per course, you can order more if you can finish the food. You can even head to the Windjammer after you are done at the Main Dining Room for a second round! This is what another friend did as she preferred the larger choice of desserts (more Asian options too) at Windjammer.

Breakfast at the Main Dining Room. The kids totally enjoying the fact that they could order whatever they wanted

The kids menu at the Main Dining Room is pretty good too. My children enjoyed having their own menu to order from. If it doesn’t suffice, they can also order from the adult menu. Take note though that kids’ desserts at all the various restaurants including the speciality restaurants are very heavy on ice-cream. I think they must have consumed their year’s supply of ice cream in 3 days.

Some of the lunch and dinner dishes we enjoyed at the Main Dining Room

When not dining at the Speciality restaurants, we spent the rest of our meals at the Main Dining Room. However there are a few other complimentary F&B outlets in terms of food. It was a pity we didn’t manage to find time to visit Cafe 270. It has a huge tiered seating area with glass windows that afford an expansive view of the seas! This seating area also doubles up as a performance venue come night time. The food can be taken away picnic style so you can even eat in the comfort of your own room. Sorrento’s is another option if you love pizza and it is the only food venue that is open until 2am. On the first and second night, I went to grab a few slices at 1am, just because.

Specialty Restaurants

We dined at 3 specialty dining restaurants this trip, which aren’t complimentary. If you would like to dine there, you can either do so ala carte or you can even purchase a dining package that covers a number of restaurants, or an unlimited package! While I enjoyed my time dining at the 3 specialty restaurants, I don’t think it’s necessary to go for the unlimited package because the food at the complimentary restaurants are good too, especially at the Main Dining restaurant. Also, if you’re keen to try as many activities on board the ship, you’ll want to not linger too long over your meals, as happened to us because the ambience was so lovely!

Chops Grille

So which specialty restaurants are a must try on the Spectrum of the Seas? If you are a steak lover, hands down I would recommend that you try Chops Grille! The restaurant is a classic American steakhouse but exudes a posh and exclusive vibe. It feels a bit like dining at a fine-dining restaurant. The steak that I ordered was absolutely delicious. It was the most tender and flavourful steak I have had in a very long time, and if not for stomach limitations, I would have polished off every single morsel. The desserts are not to be missed too. My only grouse is the jumbo prawn cocktail starter that tasted limp and cold. It also looked suspiciously like the children’s menu prawn cocktail!


Wonderland is another restaurant that is worth a visit. Be prepared to be surprised when you dine at this restaurant. Theatrical food with an Alice in Wonderland storyline. Be sure to have your cameras or phones ready for those Instagrammable shots! And don’t tell the kids that they get to eat candy floss for their starters and desserts! Edward has already proclaimed this to be his favourite restaurant by far, and there’s no prizes for guessing why.


We also tried Izumi Japanese restaurant. Of the 3, Izumi is the cheapest. You can get a set meal at $39.90 which is very filling. We had trouble finishing our rolls and had to ask for takeaway boxes. Being very accustomed to excellent Japanese restaurants at affordable prices in Singapore, Izumi was a bit of a let down. Taste-wise, both the sashimi and the sushi rolls were alright, pleasant but nothing to shout about. Also, I found it weird that the sashimi was sliced at an odd angle. I’m not quite able to put my finger on it but it looks different from what I’m used to seeing in Singapore. Still, it’s not a bad idea to eat here especially if you are on a longer cruise and need a change in cuisine to perk up your palate.

We didn’t get to try Hotpot, another specialty restaurant. It has superb views of the wake of the ship, imagine enjoying that view while enjoying a hotpot meal. to remind you that hey cruising life is wonderful!

The beverage package… get it if you really want to let your hair down!

Royal Caribbean kindly extended to us the alcohol beverage package each. That means unlimited alcohol and coffee during our time on board the vessel! I must say, it was luxurious having this beverage package and also one of the highlights of our cruise. We could have mimosas for breakfast, cocktails as and when we felt like it, and accompanying wines for lunch and dinner. We were living like kings! It also became my nightly ritual after the shows to get a coffee to relax. I wish I had made it a point to leave the kids at the kids club for at least a few hours so that the husband and I could visit some bars as well. There are so many dotted around the ship.

The alcohol beverage package is not for everyone though. If you’re just a light drinker, it might be better to pay for your drinks ala carte. You probably need to consume 5 alcoholic drinks per day (including port days!) to break even. But if you love the idea of not having a limit (because you know you’re on holiday!), go for the beverage package. We definitely were more adventurous with our drink choices, and were glad to have the opportunity to try new drinks without having to mentally calculate if it would be worth the risk of not liking it.

There are also cheaper beverage packages that only include soft drinks or just premium coffee.

What to do on board the Spectrum of the Seas cruise

It’s not an exaggeration to say that there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied on the Spectrum of the Seas, or any Royal Caribbean cruise for that matter. Think performances and shows to the North Star capsule ride, Flow Rider, Ripcord by iFly, sports like table tennis and archery, dodgems, rock climbing, cupcake class, sushi-making class, bingo and even a beanbag throwing competition (some require an additional fee but most do not)! It’s practically impossible to cover everything if you are on a short 3N2D cruise. As it were, I had to forgo disembarking at Penang so that I could spend more time on the ship!

I won’t lie, there are queues for the more popular activities such as the Flow Rider and the Bumper Cars, which are completely free to enjoy. The queues are a bit of a pain. But on the contrary, me being a bit of a scaredy cat means I’ve never tried the Flow Rider and Ripcord before, and would never have had the intention nor motivation to pay for a session back in Singapore. So glad I was able to have this opportunity to check out these dare devil activities on board the Royal Caribbean cruise!

That’s why a cruise can be more affordable and convenient than a traditional holiday!

It was great that we could walk to all these activities. Normally we would have had to plan and pay for transportation and factor in meal time as well as nap time. It was very convenient to just head out of our room or back to our room as and when required without any logistical headache for once!

Between visiting all the various restaurants to covering all the activities and shows, we ended up returning to our staterooms well after 10pm. The kids were completely tired out and slept easily at the drop of a hat. I only slept well past 1am because I didn’t want to lose my chance to visit the Casino. Also took the opportunity to grab some late night pizza slices from Sorrento’s, just because. Quite a handful of people also had the same idea.

Want a fun-filled fuss-free family vacation? Book a Royal Caribbean cruise!

In conclusion, all four of us enjoyed our 4D3N cruise to Penang on the Royal Caribbean Spectrum of the Seas. Poor Edward cried when he had to disembark and we had to promise him that we would return again soon. It was great that there were so many activities for everyone to enjoy. It was convenient and stress-free that we didn’t have to worry about paying extra for food and transport. Everything was included in the pricing of the cruise. Crew on board the ship were friendly and eager to please. You can just see it in their energy levels and their smiles that they too enjoy working on the ship. There’s no doubt you’ll be seeing me again on another Royal Caribbean cruise.

If you’re looking for a fuss-free family holiday for the upcoming school holidays, I would highly recommend taking a cruise with Royal Caribbean. The only thing I would advise myself and any potential cruise virgins to note is to remember to save some time for relaxing and enjoying the views! There is no need to try and accomplish every single activity! Save some for the next cruise….

Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean Group

Do check out the Icon of the Seas. This behemoth of a cruise ship is the latest and largest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet to be launched. It is pure entertainment on steroids and the ship is divided into “neighbourhoods”, yah it is that huge. I think the Surfside neighbourhood and Ultimate Family Townhouse in particular would be interesting to young families! For guests looking to travel in style, this is it. Have you seen something more lulxurious than this three-storey Ultimate Family Townhouse which includes an in-suite slide, private balconies, and karaoke and entertainment areas for families to spend quality time together, while being able to enjoy pockets of me time. On my bucket list to try out when visiting USA.

Scroll down for more photos!

I took nearly 2000 photos and videos throughout the 4D3N cruise! Tried really hard to sieve out some of the best photos to showcase our cruise but there’s so many more pictures I couldn’t include. Glad that we took the effort to pose for some family photos as well, yes it takes an effort because the kids are usually not cooperative! If only I had brought along a tripod, we could have had more family photos at Instagrammable spots. I’ve since bought this tripod (waiting for its delivery), highly recommended by my cousin. When she took it out during a family gathering, everyone went wow. In fact it was her second tripod because the first got stolen while she was on holiday in Korea, possibly because the tripod looks way more expensive than the $26 it costs.

Pay for exclusive access to the front of the ship, or snap a picture from where I took mine, ie at the Solarium

I love the night view of the ship, when half the passengers have gone to bed. Feels so surreal.

So many activities on board the Royal Caribbean cruise. It’s literally impossible to cover every single thing, nor should that be the only goal if you ask me.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 365days2play and EAT! (@365days2play)

Read more about the Spectrum of the Seas on the Royal Caribbean website
Check out Klook deals for the Spectrum of the Seas (affiliate link)
Check out Klook deals for Anthem of the Seas, the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that will be coming to Singapore towards the later half of 2024 (affiliate link)

365days2play’s Instagram

Follow us on Instagram

[instagram-feed feed=1]

Subscribe to 365days2play via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Most Popular Posts

Don't Miss