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Genies, freebies and VIP status: The perks of Royal Caribbean’s Royal Suite class explained

April 07, 2022
9 min read
Royal Suite Class with Royal Caribbean
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Take your pick: Can you settle for a concierge to elevate your next cruise or do you need a genie to make your vacation magical? The choice is yours when you book a suite that’s part of Royal Caribbean’s Royal Suite class.

On Oasis- and Quantum-class ships, your suite booking comes with a host of perks that vary based on the Royal Suite-class tier your cabin falls under. The amenities range from in-cabin bathrobes and name-brand toiletries to an exclusive restaurant and personal assistant. Some suites include Wi-Fi, specialty dining, tips and a beverage package wrapped into the cruise fare.

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The effect is to create a little slice of luxury living on a mass-market ship sailing with thousands of passengers on board. VIP privileges help smooth the wrinkles of jockeying for reservations, seats and head-of-the-line positions, so you can enjoy every moment of your trip.

You might need that genie to help you figure out which suites come with which perks on which ships. Here, I’ll take you through the ins and outs of Royal Caribbean’s Royal Suite class for the next time you want to make your cruise vacation extra special.

Wonder of the Seas' suite sun deck provides a private escape for Royal Suite-class guests. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

What is Royal Caribbean’s Royal Suite class?

The Royal Suite class divides Royal Caribbean’s top suites into three categories: Sea, Sky and Star. Sea is the lowest tier, Sky is the middle tier and Star is the highest tier; the names go in order from lowest to the ground to way up in the heavens, to match their level of inclusions.

Which suites fall into each Royal Suite-class category?

Royal Suite class is only found on the newest and biggest ships. These include:

  • Allure of the Seas.
  • Anthem of the Seas.
  • Harmony of the Seas.
  • Oasis of the Seas.
  • Odyssey of the Seas.
  • Ovation of the Seas.
  • Quantum of the Seas.
  • Spectrum of the Seas.
  • Symphony of the Seas.
  • Wonder of the Seas.

Among those ships, here are the suite categories that fall under each tier.

Sea class

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  • Junior suite.
  • Junior suite with large balcony.

Sky class

  • AquaTheater suite (one bedroom).
  • Crown Loft suite.
  • Golden Balcony.
  • Golden junior suite.
  • Grand suite (one or two bedrooms).
  • Grand suite with large balcony (one bedroom).
  • Owner’s suite.
  • Sky Loft suite.
  • Spacious AquaTheater suite (one bedroom).

Star Class

  • AquaTheater suite with large balcony (two bedrooms).
  • Grand Loft suite.
  • Grand Panoramic suite (one bedroom).
  • Owner’s Loft suite.
  • Owner’s Panoramic suite.
  • Royal Loft suite.
  • Star Loft suite.
  • Spacious AquaTheater suite with large balcony (two bedrooms).
  • Ultimate Family suite.
  • Ultimate Panoramic suite.
  • Villa suite.

What are the Royal Suite-class benefits?

All Royal Suite-class suites are tricked out with bathrobes for use on board, a Lavazza espresso coffee maker and upgraded toiletries. On my recent Wonder of the Seas cruise in a Grand suite, the toiletries were Malin + Goetz-brand shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion in large pump bottles (so you can’t stick them in your luggage before you disembark).

You’re also entitled to a dedicated check-in line on embarkation day. All suite guests can eat dinner at Coastal Kitchen, the exclusive suite restaurant, but you must make reservations in advance.

Related: Reasons you should splurge on a suite for your next cruise

Move up to Sky class, and the perks and inclusions get even better. You’ll get VIP treatment, such as concierge service, flexible arrival times (an hour earlier or later than your check-in time) and priority disembarkation, priority dining reservations and reserved group seating in certain entertainment venues, such as the main theater and ice skating rink.

On my Wonder of the Seas cruise, the concierge personally escorted us off the ship, holding elevators, skipping us ahead of the general scrum to scan our SeaPass cards and exit, and pointing out exactly where our bags were located.

Sky-class passengers also get access to exclusive venues, such as the Coastal Kitchen restaurant for three meals a day, suite lounge with complimentary evening drinks and snacks, and the suite sun deck. Room service is free of charge 24/7.

On Wonder of the Seas, I truly appreciated the suite lounge and concierge service. It was my first time on an Oasis-class ship, and a lot of advance reservations were not available on the inaugural sailing of the ship. The concierges were brilliant at getting me a table the first day the new Mason Jar restaurant was open for brunch, and making reservations for all the shows we wanted to see.

My daughter and I loved to pop into the suite lounge to grab a pastry, snack or drink; it was more convenient than room service, when you never knew when or what was going to show up. I found Coastal Kitchen to be several steps above the main dining room in terms of food quality and service, and I regret not eating more meals there.

Every person booked into a Sky-class suite also gets a free “Surf + Stream” internet package for one device. That meant I could get work done while my daughter watched "Encanto" for the thousandth time on Disney+.

You also get one bottle of water on arrival, but that pales in comparison to the rest of the perks!

Allure of the Seas' Coastal Kitchen. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

How is Star class different?

Star class is where the magic happens. In addition to all the aforementioned perks, passengers booked into the largest, most expensive suites receive complimentary specialty restaurant dining, a Deluxe beverage package (for all guests 21 and older) or Refreshment package (for anyone not legal to drink), minibar stocked with soda and water, laundry and pressing, and gratuities.

The suites will feature luxury-brand mattresses and pillows, topped with Frette linens, and have still and sparkling water replenished each day. You’ll receive expedited boarding and departure, priority entrance to shipboard activities and the best seats reserved specifically for you at many onboard entertainment venues.

Related: 5 of the world's best cruise ship suites

However, the best Star-class amenity is the Royal Genie, a personal butler who will go above and beyond to enhance your vacation at sea. I’ve sailed on luxury ships, where butlers basically offer to unpack your bags and bring you afternoon canapes, but otherwise seem like a glorified room steward. Not so with the Royal Genie.

All Royal Genies will help you plan your cruise in advance, snagging your preferred reservations at restaurants and activities, and adjusting these plans in real time as your cruise unfolds and things come up. They will personally escort your travel party on and off the ship.

Beyond that, what your Royal Genie can do for you depends a lot on what you ask for. Think about bringing any food from any restaurant to your suite for in-room or balcony dining. Maybe it’s throwing a party for a special occasion or for friends your meet on board. The Genie can supervise your kids at the buffet while you have a date night meal or plan a special day in port. He or she might surprise you with popcorn when you decide to have an in-cabin movie night, bring you daily Starbucks or leave little gifts for you to find.

Even cruisers who are low maintenance, or feel awkward having a crew member follow them around all day long, report getting used to the unobtrusive-yet-ever-present service of a Genie, and say it really makes their sailing special.

The best Star-class amenity is the Royal Genie, a personal butler who will go above and beyond to enhance your vacation at sea. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Is the Royal Suite class worth it?

Now that’s a question without a right or wrong answer.

Are the perks valuable and useful? You bet. Are the suites spacious and upscale? Yep. Is it worth the price? Well, now, that depends ...

When I checked, fares for a Royal Loft suite on a weeklong Christmas 2023 sailing on Oasis of the Seas started at more than $20,000 ... per person (based on double occupancy). The same cabin a few weeks later costs nearly $11,000 per person. On a four-night Bahamas cruise on Allure of the Seas, the suite costs $4,000 per person. That’s quite the price range.

Related: Why it pays to upgrade your cruise ship cabin

If you want the most affordable cruise, Royal Suite class is not worth the money. If you're willing to pay whatever it costs for a luxury experience and VIP treatment on a tricked-out megaship with all the restaurants and onboard attractions, it’s definitely worth it. You might find you’re willing to splurge for a once-in-a-lifetime trip, like a honeymoon, but not for an ordinary vacation. Perhaps you’re willing to pay for a lower-tier suite with some but not all the perks, or are willing to patiently scour all the sailings to find a Star-class suite with a lower-than-average fare.

I can’t imagine anyone regretting the vacation they had in a Royal Suite-class cabin. However, you might regret all the things you have to give up (new car, dinners out, shopping trips) to afford that suite. Only you can decide how you want to spend your discretionary budget.

Planning a Royal Caribbean cruise? Learn more with these stories:

Featured photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees