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Preview of Royal Caribbean's Royal Railway (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Dining in Royal Railway (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

Utopia of the Seas News: All Aboard for a Preview of Royal Railway

Preview of Royal Caribbean's Royal Railway (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Dining in Royal Railway (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Jorge Oliver
Senior Editor, News and Features
Aaron Saunders

Last updated
May 23, 2024

Read time
6 min read

(May 23, 2024) -- Royal Caribbean's train at sea is almost ready to leave the station.

Royal Railway, a brand-new, locomotive-themed venue that's set to debut in July aboard Utopia of the Seas, is designed to offer a five-course immersive dining experience meant to mimic a train ride.

Cruise Critic attended a media preview of Royal Railway at Royal Caribbean's headquarters in Miami, where the cruise line built a mock up of the venue to showcase the food, beverage and entertainment combo centered around a specific theme.

The immersive dining experience will initially offer a theme inspired by the American Wild West. The cruise line has confirmed, however, that other themes are under development, including a wine country experience and a trek centered around the destinations along the historical Silk Road.

Royal Railway menu and ticket (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Royal Railway will debut on Utopia of the Seas with a Wild West theme (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

According to Jay Schneider, Royal Caribbean's chief product innovation officer, Royal Railway's themes will be built around family-friendly experiences and date night experiences for adult audiences.

The experience starts with a cocktail outside of the train car in an area called Utopia Station. Passengers will get to choose from five options specifically crafted for Royal Railway: Gold Rush, Pisco Sour, the 49er, Cherry Bourbon & Cola and Brandy Crusta.

Cocktails available on Royal Railway's menu (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Royal Railway will feature five Wild West-inspired cocktails (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

Ed Eiswirth, senior director of beverage operations at Royal Caribbean, said these wild west-themed cocktails will only be available at Royal Railway. Non-alcoholic beverages -- like sarsaparrilla, cherry cola, and strawberry limeade -- will also be on offer.

Passengers are then led to the dining venue by the hosts: improv actors dressed in period attire and who stay in character throughout the experience.

The cozy Royal Railway venue is modeled after a classic train car, with seating for a total of 24 people on four rows of seats separated by a corridor down the middle. Windows on each side are fitted with LED screens, showcasing digital landscapes of the American West that zoom by at a moderate speed as the 'train' takes off.

Royal Railway's Braised short ribs entree (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Royal Railway's menu features Old West-inspired entrees like braised short ribs (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

The five course menu offers Wild West-themed items like Fart & dart baked beans, Soapy Smith's corn chowder, Old west empanada trio, baked river trout and roasted poussin. Even the bread is served in a container modeled after and Old West wagon, and instead of your average butter, you get options like pimento cheese spread.

The dessert option is particularly inspired. Named "Royal Railway Cigar," it consists of a cigar-shaped ice cream bar, resting on a pile of Oreo-cookie crumb "ashes" and a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream.

Royal Railway Cigar (Photo: Jorge Oliver)
Royal Railway Cigar, one of the dessert options available aboard Royal Railway (Photo: Jorge Oliver)

A children's menu is also available, with entrees like chicken enchilada, beef sliders and chicken nuggets.

While the menu is enticing enough, the true star of Royal Railway is the acted out story that takes place during the experience. The improv actors -- including a heroic train conductor who also happens to be a U.S. Marshall and a band of villainous outlaws -- play out an engaging plot that relies on audience participation.

The theatrical elements are amplified by digital enhancements: the landscape images shown on the LED screens correlate with the narrative, and the seats are outfitted with buttkickers, devices that shake, bump and move your seats to mimic the cadence of a train ride as well as other motion-specific events during the story.

The whole experience takes 90 minutes, but there's so much going on that it goes by in a flash. While details have not yet been finalized, Royal Caribbean expects to offer this experience four to five times a day aboard Utopia of the Seas.

Royal Railway is also slated to be an added-cost experience. The cost per passenger has also not been set, but the cruise line revealed that the venue will likely follow a dynamic pricing model.

Utopia of the Seas is scheduled to arrive in its homeport of Port Canaveral on July 13, ahead of the ship's maiden voyage on July 19.

--Jorge Oliver, Editor

Utopia of the Seas Embarks on Sea Trials Prior to July Debut

Utopia of the Seas sets out on its sea trials (Photo: Royal Caribbean)
Utopia of the Seas sets out on its sea trials (Photo: Royal Caribbean)

(May 7, 2024) -- Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Utopia of the Seas, has set out on its sea trials ahead of its first voyages this July from Orlando (Port Canaveral).

An essential part of every ship's construction, sea trials are used to test the performance of ships before they enter service. A team of over 900 specialists will be onboard Utopia of the Seas for the next five days as it covers a 1,000 mile test voyage that is designed to test the performance of the ship's engines, measure its navigation characteristics and ocean-keeping abilities, test marine and hotel systems, and more.

The sixth Oasis-class ship to enter service, Utopia of the Seas is a direct sister to 2022's Wonder of the Seas. Utopia of the Seas, however, is the first Oasis-class vessel to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) technology.

Following its successful sea trials, Utopia of the Seas will return to the Chantiers de L'Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, for final fitting out.

Utopia of the Seas will embark on its maiden voyage on July 19, 2024 from Port Canaveral, after a media preview cruise that Cruise Critic will be sailing aboard.

-- Aaron Saunders, Senior Editor, News and Features

Utopia of the Seas Set to Arrive Earlier; Royal Caribbean Adds New Inaugural Sailing

Rendering of Utopia of the Seas (Photo/Royal Caribbean)
Rendering of Utopia of the Seas (Photo/Royal Caribbean)

(March 6, 2024) – The wait for Royal Caribbean’s upcoming Oasis-class ship, Utopia of the Seas, just got shorter. Three days shorter, to be exact.

In a letter addressed to passengers who booked the ship’s original inaugural sailing on July 22, 2024, the cruise line shared that the 6,700-passenger ship will arrive in Port Canaveral earlier than anticipated.

This revelation prompted Royal Caribbean to add one 3-night cruise ahead of the July 22 sailing. The weekend cruise will depart on July 19, 2024 on a Bahamas and Perfect Day itinerary, with stops at Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay. The cruise line officially opened up bookings for this sailing on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

The 4-day sailing scheduled for July 22 remains unchanged.

Once it arrives this summer, Utopia of the Seas will be Royal Caribbean’s sixth Oasis Class ship. The vessel will be the first in its class powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), and the second overall in the fleet, following the recently-launched Icon of the Seas.

Built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, Utopia of the Seas will be homeported in Port Canaveral, from where it will exclusively embark on 3- and 4-day itineraries to the Bahamas.

The ship is set to introduce new venues, including Royal Railway, a new immersive and multisensory dining experience that will emulate virtual train rides throughout the world.

Earlier this year, a seventh Oasis-class ship was announced, set to debut in 2028. Additionally, Royal Caribbean will launch Star of the Seas, sister ship to Icon of the Seas, in 2025. A third Icon-class ship is also in the works.

-- Jorge Oliver, Editor

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