Cruise Line Room Service 2020 – Fee or Free?

For as long as I’ve been cruising (and that’s a long time), I’ve never had a room service fee.  Except of course, a couple of dollars for a tip to give to the delivery person.  But times are changing.

Room service breakfast aboard Nieuw Statendam
My room service breakfast aboard Nieuw Statendam: Smoked Salmon Benedict.

While luxury and ultra-luxury cruise lines don’t charge a room service fee, mass-market cruise lines are slowly adding in either a service fee for delivery or they now charge for upgraded or a la carte items.  It didn’t take long for them to figure out how to monetize what used to be free.

What you can order from room service

Breakfast, for sure.  Complimentary breakfast can vary between cruise lines.  My recent cruise aboard Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas offered only a cold, Continental breakfast.

Some cruise lines list all sorts of sandwiches and burgers while others add a wide range of salads and even hot soup.  On a few cruise lines, you can order main dining room menu items.  For a fee, on Holland America you can order from the specialty restaurant menus at dinner.  Pizza delivery is very popular on Carnival, MSC and Norwegian.  Princess Cruises has their fee-based dinner-on-the-balcony offer.

Here is the current list of what you’ll pay (or not pay) for room service.

Cruise lines that charge a room service fee for delivery

Norwegian Cruise Line

While individual menu items are complimentary, there’s a $9.95 service fee per order.  Guests who stay in The Haven will not be charged a service fee.  There’s no service fee for ordering a Continental breakfast with pastries and coffee.

To justify the new $9.95 service fee, Norwegian Cruise Line added an enhanced room service menu. The new menu offers a larger selection for breakfast, plus a wider variety of options available 24 hours.  The menu items are all complimentary with the $9.95 fee.  As on other mainstream cruise lines,  morning coffee with a cold, continental breakfast does not have a service fee.  Orders placed by guests cruising in The Haven do not have a charge.

If you want to order beverages that have a price tag, then a 20% gratuity and beverage service charge will be added.  Room service is offered 24-hours a day.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean charges a $7.95 service fee and room service is available 24-hours a day.  Every stateroom has a room service menu.   On top of that, there’s an 18% gratuity fee.  Stay in one of the Royal Suites and room service is included.

New room service menu items feature several upgraded selections.  These include a Wagyu Beef Hamburger, Philly Cheesesteak and Grilled Salmon with Cucumber Mint Yogurt and Roasted Asparagus.  Not bad for $7.95 + 18%.  Of course, you can still order a hot breakfast for everyone in your stateroom, and the fee is still $7.95 plus 18% gratuity.

If you only want a cold Continental breakfast with pastries and coffee, there is no charge.  You might want to tip the delivery person, though.

MSC

It isn’t all la dolce vita at MSC.  If you’re in Bella class (inside, oceanview and standard balcony, there’s a $4.99 delivery fee.  There is no delivery fee if you have booked a stateroom in Aurea or Fantastic Experience.  The room service menu for Bella, Aurea and Fantastica  has both pay-for and free selections.

Book an MSC Yacht Club suite and there’s no fee or charge for room service.  Plus, each suite has a complimentary mini-bar.  And the Yacht Club Lounge has a revolving array of hot and cold snacks throughout the day.

Cruise lines that have free room service…plus

Carnival

Mass hysteria among Carnival fan recently developed when Carnival announced it would begin to charge for room service.  After a quick backtrack, Carnival announced that they were not going to charge for most room service after all, just for certain items.

Carnival has a pretty awesome complimentary breakfast menu that includes coffee and juice, toasted bagels, white and wheat toast plus cold cereal, danish and even yogurt.  For $3.00, you can order a hot breakfast sandwich.

Carnival Cruise Line Breakfast Room Service Menu
Carnival room service is complimentary from 6:00am to 10:00pm and offers a nice selection of hot and cold sandwiches, and a garden or Caesar salad.  For fees that range from $2.00 to $6.00, you can order items like Chicken Tenders, Spicy Fried Firecracker Shrimp, Chicken Quesadilla, Philly Cheesesteak and Pan Pizza.

Carnival Late Night Room Service Menu Fees

From 10:00pm to 6:00am, there’s a per item charge for everything on Carnival’s late night menu.  The menu features the same selection as during the day plus a Portabella & Veggie Bun, a Grilled Cheese, Bacon & Tomato Sandwich, Roast Turkey Wrap and Omelette and French Fries.

For $2.00, you can order their Dark Chocolate Walnut Brownie or a Doughnut Sandwich.  Again, like the à la carte daytime menu specialty items, the cost runs between $2.00 and $6.00 per selection.

Bar items can also be ordered through room service.  This includes beer, liquor and wine.  If you order wine through room service, you can only order two bottles and it must be consumed in your stateroom.<
Of course, late night snacks at the Carnival Deli and pizza stations are open and still free.

Princess Cruises

While room service is still complimentary on Princess, they do offer select menu items that are available for a fee.

Holland America

This is becoming a trend.  Room service on Holland America is complimentary.  However, Holland America has a fee-based nice upgrade on its breakfast menu.  Their smoked salmon Benedict priced at $7.50 is my favorite.  Steak and eggs; $9.50.

If you’ve upgraded and purchased their new Club Orange program, the a la carte breakfast item are included.  Holland America also offers a full room service breakfast on debarkation morning.  That’s something most other non-luxury lines do not offer.

Disney Cruise Line

Free room service is still part of your Disney cruise fare and most items are available without a fee.  Certain snacks and upgraded meals will carry an additional fee.

Celebrity Cruises

Again, 24/7 room service is included.  On all sailings, a late night room fee of $4.95 will be added to all orders received between 11pm and 6am. Room service outside the hours of 11pm and 6am is complimentary.  Continental breakfast is served on request in your stateroom between 06:30am and 10:00am. A more extensive room service menu is available 24 hours a day on all sailings.

Azamara Club Cruises

This tiny, Royal Caribbean-owned, two ship cruise line (plus one expedition ship) still offers complimentary room service.  Their room service menu is very extensive, too.  So far, no late night service fee or add-on cost for select items.

Luxury cruise lines

Book a cruise on Crystal, Regent, Seabourn, Silversea, Viking and Virgin Voyages and as you’d expect, room service is complimentary.  Most will even set up a tablecloth meal on your balcony.  Luxury has its perks.

Tipping your room service delivery person

Yes, you should tip the person who delivers your room service order.  I purposely get $20 in one-dollar bills just for room service.  Before I go to sleep, I set out $2.00 on the desk.  When I get up to open the door, I grab the money and have it in my hand.  As the delivery person leaves, I hand over the tip.  This just makes it so much easier.

Whether you pay a fee or it’s free, room service is something that every cruiser should try, if only just once.  It’s so nice to have breakfast in your robe rather than table service in the main dining room or fighting Lido Buffet traffic jams at 8am.  Happy cruising!

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