Royal Caribbean New Main Dining Room Menus – An Honest Review (with photos)
Royal Caribbean has recently started rolling out a brand new main dining room menu across its fleet.
We had the opportunity to test out the new menus during our cruise on Wonder of the Seas, and will be sharing our thoughts and the new menus with you!
Along with the Royal Caribbean NEW menus, we have some photos of items we ordered each night, as well as a bonus look at a few other Wonder of the Seas Restaurants at the end of this article. We’ll look at the Mason Jar and Wonderland – two fun specialty restaurants onboard Wonder of the Seas.
If you’d like to see a full review of our cruise, this review video covers the Royal Caribbean New Menu AND other areas, like service, embarkation, and entertainment.
On a 7-night cruise, you can expect a different menu every night.
Here’s how it works: The first night is the Welcome Aboard menu, then French Night for the first formal night, followed by; Mexican, Italian, Caribbean, The Royal Night for the second formal night with lobster tails available, and the final night was the Bon Voyage menu.
Each night you’ll find about 6 appetizers, 7 entrees, and 6 dessert choices. Upcharge filet mignon, lobster, and surf & turf are also available each evening. Usually, the entrees break down into a selection of chicken, beef, pasta, vegan, Indian (some nights), and seafood.
The menu does feel somewhat limited compared to past menus, but we were able to find solid choices every night of our cruise, and sometimes ordered more than one appetizer or entree. One important change to note is that the “Classics” portion of the menu is no longer available each night. However, we did see items from that menu popping up quite a bit throughout the cruise. For example, the Ceasar Salad, Shrimp Cocktail, French Onion Soup, and Escargot were all offered more than once. Download menus from all 7 nights here.
Here’s a look at each of the main dining room menus individually:
Royal Caribbean New Menu Night One: Welcome Aboard Menu
Royal Caribbean New Menu Night Two: French Night (for us, this was the first formal night)
Royal Caribbean New Menu Night Three: Mexican Night
Royal Caribbean New Menu Night Four: Italian Night
Royal Caribbean New Menu Night Five: Caribbean Night
Royal Caribbean New Menu Night Six: The Royal Night (for us, this was our second formal night)
Royal Caribbean New Menu Night Seven: Bon Voyage Night
Other Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas Menus
We weren’t able to get photos of all menus onboard, but here are a select few from Wonder of the Seas. These are updated as of January 2023.
Wonder of the Seas Brunch Menu
Wonder of the Seas Room Service Menu
Our overall experience
While some Royal Caribbean cruisers are voicing concern about certain menu items being taken away or changed, we hadn’t formed an attachment to the MDR menus previously, so for us, overall quality and service were what we were looking at on this cruise. We’re not particularly picky about food, and place a greater value on service in the MDR. If you have great service, any issue can be handled easily. Don’t like an entree? Request another!
I’m pleased to say that our main dining room service was EXCELLENT all cruise. The food quality was solid and above average for a mass market main dining room experience. But, what really stood out was the service, and cadence of our meals.
Our servers asked us every night if we needed to hustle out for a show, or other obligation. This extra step went a long way with us, and while we never felt rushed to eat and leave, we also didn’t feel “trapped” in the main dining room, trying to rush to a show or other event.
Bar Drinks were prompt, courses were timed beautifully, and despite how “bustling” the dining room was during our deck 4 “my time” dining arrangement, we had impeccable service the entire week. I’d say for us, the new main dining room menus were a “hit”, overall, with a few misses.
While caesar salad was usually available as a starter, it would be nice to be able to request a simple garden salad nightly, as there weren’t a lot of veggies on the menu. We tried once, and our request was denied. We’ve had no issues doing this on other cruise lines (Carnival, Princess), and it seems like a pretty basic ask.
We’re not vegan or vegetarian, but we noticed the options did seem VERY limited for vegans, and I’d strongly suggest you speak with the head waiter on night one to request additional options.
We didn’t “miss” the classics menu as many cruisers do. It seems like something Royal Caribbean could easily add back to the menu in order to appease cruisers who are missing the classics. How hard could it REALLY be to offer a shrimp cocktail, a cheese plate, spaghetti bolognese (I’d like to see that one!), and caesar salad every night? It will be interesting to see if the “classics” re-emerge.
PHOTO TIME! A look at some of our favorite menu items throughout the week…
Night One: Welcome Aboard!
With favorites like Escargot (if you’re into that) & Crab Cakes, it’s hard to choose from the menu items on night one! The spaghetti bolognese provided just the filling comfort food we were craving. The pasta was al dente, the sauce a lovely combo of meat & San Marzano tomatoes. We appreciated that the parmesan was brought by the servers without being asked for, and the parm was fresh & ample. The pan-roasted fish filet with a butter sauce was topped with crispy leeks and hit the spot. If you don’t care for corn, you might skip this entree.
The pan-roasted fish filet topped with crispy leeks hit the spot too, as did the fried chicken. Our son devoured the fried chicken entree! The fried chicken is served with savory/sweet tabasco honey. Not too spicy, and 14 year-old kid approved!
Night Two: French Night
Ooh, la la! It’s French night, and time for some starters like french onion soup, calamari, and a wedge salad (not sure just how French iceberg wedges salads are….buuuut, it was a highlight!). The blue cheese dressing on the wedge salad was mild, and in hindsight, I’d order two of these. So good!
For entrees, we were pleased with the beef tenderloin- served with perfectly tender asparagus and a peppercorn sauce. We also tried the salmon and the seafood linguini. The seafood linguini was average (could have been hotter), so we wished we’d opted for the chicken cordon bleu. Next time!
For dessert, we tried the creme brulee and toasted almond creme puffs. Both were about what you’d expect and felt decidedly “french”.
Night Three: Mexican Night
If you weren’t in the mood for Enchiladas, corn cakes, or tortilla soup on Mexican night, you may be happy to know that the escargot was BACK. We didn’t try it, but I’ve heard rumblings that it used to be a “nightly thing” in the MDR on Royal Caribbean, and some of you miss those snails! If escargot is your jam, you’ll find the slimy little suckers on Mexican night (who knew!?).
In all seriousness, the Mexican night menu was a win for us. The tortilla soup starter was pleasantly spicy.
The pork enchilada entree was hearty, covered in a delicious sauce, and didn’t resemble the dry, boring enchiladas of past cruises.
The dud of the night on Mexican Night was the Vegan chili-crusted tofu tacos (entree). I feel that I owe an apology to my vegan friends- this was just not good!
Not only were they not tacos (maybe a better title would be “fried tofu stuffed in a dry tortilla cup”), but they were SO dry, you couldn’t bear to eat them without drowning them in the sauces they came with. And what’s with that little sad slice of pear? Again- dry, void of color, and just not a good meal choice for a vegan entree. Ultimately, the sauce was flavorful, but this was just a weird entree, and if I were a vegan, I’d have headed to the buffet after this entree to find something more flavorful. If you’re going to order this dish, dip the tofu in the sauce, and order it as an appetizer.
No Mexican dinner is complete without caramel flan, and Royal Caribbean nailed this creamy, authentic custard for us. The photo of the flan below doesn’t do it justice, but when I finish a dessert, you know it’s GOOD.
The tres leches cake came through too- nice flavors, and dare I say it. It was moist (sigh…).
Night Four: Italian Night
The Italian night menu had some nice selections, making it hard to choose!
Tonight’s favorites included a Chicken Parmesan entree and the Coffee Pot de Creme for dessert. The lasagna entree and crispy parmesan arancini starter were also a “win” and the lemon curd tartlet for dessert was one of the more nicely presented desserts of the week.
The chicken parmesan had a nice balance of crispiness (without feeling greasy) and paired perfectly with the pasta marinara. We’ll order this again, and may ask for a side of marinara for smothering. Why not…
Night Five: Caribbean Night
Caribbean night offers some fitting selections like crispy jumbo coconut shrimp (starter), and a jerk-seasoned pork chop entree. The shrimp was ANYTHING but jumbo and offered an “okay” start to the meal. Thankfully, we ordered another appetizer to try (in addition to the not-so-jumbo shrimp). The best appetizer of the week in my opinion was the Asian-style pork bao taco starter on Caribbean night. Try these! The pork inside was fork-tender, and the sauce was exquisite! This would make a wonderful entree, in fact.
The garlic herb butter shrimp entree was well prepared and tasted great, but it lacked Caribbean flair. To us, this seemed like a chance to add a bit more Caribbean flavor to a simple dish.
Night Six: Royal Night
If you’re wondering when you’ll find lobster on your 7- night cruise, this is your night! We’re happy to report that the formal night or “royal night” lobster was high quality, quite tender, and larger than we remember. The portion for the entree itself (with sides) is still smallish though, so we suggest ordering a second entree, or a few appetizers. There’s an upcharge if you want an extra lobster tail.
For starters, we tried the Vidalia onion tart and the vegan citrus and avocado salad. Both were delicious and the perfect start to our formal night meal.
In addition to lobster on Royal night, we tried the chicken marsala and cheese tortellini entrees. The cheese tortellini was filling and would be a nice second entree to add if you’re trying the lobster tail. Normally one entree is MORE than enough for us, but we were wanting for a bit more.
Night Seven: Bon Voyage Night
We chose to dine at Wonderland on night 7, so no photos from this evening’s menu, but it looked delicious! The Bon Voyage menu brought back earlier favorites from the week like french onion soup and spaghetti bolognese. Had we dined there, we’d have tried the Autumn Turkey Dinner, a wonderful, comfort-food end to a cruise!
Overall, we think the new MDR menus were a hit, and the staff worked really hard to ensure that food came fast and at the right temperature. On mass-market cruises, there has to be a balance between quality and speed, and we feel that on our Wonder of the Seas cruise, our experience with the new menus exceeded expectations.
Now, let’s take a quick look at some of the specialty spots we enjoyed on Wonder of the Seas.
Mason Jar & Wonderland
We made a pre-cruise reservation online and tried the Mason Jar for brunch on day 1. We noticed the restaurant was quiet during the early boarding hours, so we were so happy we chose this day/time to enjoy it! The verdict on this new southern food experience? Our whole family was impressed with the service, food, and cocktails. My favorite entree was the savory blueberry johnny cakes (pictured below), but we enjoyed everything we tried.
Don’t miss the cocktails here as well. The drink menu is unique to the mason jar and you can use your deluxe beverage package here. My favorite cocktails were the PB&J old-fashioned (served with mini sandwiches on toothpicks) and the Far From Manhattan.
Some other tasty Mason Jar brunch items we tried were the deviled eggs, chicken & waffles, stuffed french toast, and overnight oats.
In addition to the Mason Jar, we also tried Wonderland, and I’d say our experience was typical. You go to Wonderland for the experience, not for the gourmet food, and while we didn’t leave hungry, none of the food really stood out as excellent.
Here are my recommendations for what to request at Wonderland, though your waiter will choose most items for you (except your entree):
- For entrees – the short rib is very tender, and the presentation is lovely!
- Of course, the deviled egg starters are delicious TOP notch, and always a Wonderland favorite!
- The shrimp starter is pretty good too and comes with a nice dipping sauce.
- For dessert, the “World” is a must-try. The apple and mushroom desserts are sort of gelatinous, and lack flavor. Stick with the world, you won’t regret it!
While we find the food at Wonderland a bit “meh”, we still love and recommend the experience of Wonderland. We think it’s something you should try once if you’re not a super picky eater. They really accommodate kids and families here too, so don’t hesitate to take your children. The mac n’ cheese sticks kids (appetizer) were nibbled on by even the adults, and the kid’s cotton candy starter arrived with an “aaaah” from anyone within sight of your table.
Just know, they’ll be FULL of cotton candy by the end of the meal. Oh, and the cocktails at wonderland are amazing. Try the smoke rings cocktail if you like strong cocktails.
How did YOU like the new Royal Caribbean menus?
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