Royal Caribbean has instituted a $3.95 service charge for room service orders between midnight to 5 am. Starting this month, the charge is to be levied per order—not per person, or per item—for orders from the room service menu. If you only order a beverage that you'd normally pay for anyway, that's outside the new service charge policy. Royal Caribbean says that a portion of the service charge is reserved for the server's gratuity and the remainder is on board revenue enhancement.
If you don't want to pay for room service after midnight, Royal Caribbean is planning for all ships in the fleet to have food available around the clock. On ships with Café Promenade, you'll find things like complimentary sandwiches and cookies and on other ships you'll find extended hours in either the Solarium Café or Sorrento's Pizza. You won't go hungry in the middle of the night. And, if you want to eat in the privacy of your stateroom, simply pick up what you want and take it with you.
So, I wonder what the furor is all about. European lines have charged for room service for years—and their charges are à la carte, not per order. Although MSC Cruises doesn't assess room service charges when their ships are cruising in the Caribbean, Costa Cruises does (it's a $2.50 service charge on ships sailing round-trip from US ports and 2 euro when in Europe). And, if you order pizza for delievery to your stateroom on Princess Cruises' ships, you'll pay a nominal $3 fee for it at any time.
Personally, I don't think the charge is such a bad idea. I've seen room service trays in the passageways early in the morning—presumably from the night before—and the plates often have a considerable amount of uneaten food on them. That's particularly true of ships that carry a lot of kids and teens. They just love the idea of food delivered by room service and I've heard stories about gargantuan quantities being ordered on a whim, especially by teens when their parents aren't around.
If you think nominal charges for room service on cruise ships are an outrage, you obviously haven't stayed in a hotel recently. One of my friends who used to work for a hotel says, "A coffee alone from room service would be a minimum of $5!"
As reported by Cruise News Daily, additional room service options are being introduced by Royal Caribbean soon:
Just think ... a burger from Johnny Rockets without the wait for a table! Works for me.
"The room service menu will soon be expanded with some new choices called Dine In Delights. These will be some new premium options on the menu, 24 hours a day, usually branded with RCI's partner vendors onboard. When that rolls out, they will be offering a burger from Johnny Rockets on the menu (for a charge) alongside the regular room service hamburger (still free). Other Dine In Delight choices are expected to include a Sorrento's calzone and Ben & Jerry's ice cream bars. The program is being tested and tweaked now on Liberty of the Seas, but will roll out fleetwide by March."