Food on Wonder of the Seas is an attraction in its own right. From the complimentary main dining room and Windjammer Buffet to the ship's plethora of additional-cost specialty dining venues, no one will go hungry aboard Royal Caribbean's latest and greatest. And while you certainly don't have to eat at the ship's specialty dining venues, consider budgeting to do so at least once or twice -- the food is a decided notch up from the complimentary fare, and some of the venues are situated in the most attractive locations on the ship.
Pro Tip: most specialty restaurants also have their own dedicated bar that you can amble into at any time, giving you a taste of the venue for a fraction of the cost.
The Main Dining Room: Located on Decks 3, 4 and 5, this three-story venue serves up breakfast, dinner, and lunch on sea days. Menus change daily, and cruisers can select whether they would like early, late, or anytime dinner seating options. This is where all the standard cruise staples -- escargot, shrimp cocktail, steak and lobster on select nights -- can be found. The room, however, is on the cramped side despite its size; expect to be sitting very close to your fellow diners.
The Windjammer: Situated on Deck 15 aft, this casual buffet dining venue wraps attractively around the ship's pool deck and offers views of the ocean and the interior space carved out by the Boardwalk area. An attractive entryway includes casual seating options, couches to wait for your party on, and plenty of handwashing stations. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night bites, the variety of foods here is the venue's best feature, from North American classics to regional flavors from around the world. Don’t miss the amazing cheese selection when you're shopping around for desserts; it is located near the entrance and quickly became the talk of the ship.
Solarium Bistro: Billed as a more intimate casual dining option, the Solarium Bistro is located on Deck 15 forward overlooking -- you guessed it -- the ship's Solarium. While Royal Caribbean says it offers Mediterranean-inspired dishes in a buffet setting, it's actually more American in practice, and a nice change of pace from the cavernous Windjammer.
Boardwalk Dog House: Get your hot dog fix at the Boardwalk Dog House located on Deck 6 aft in the outdoor Boardwalk area.
Café Promenade: One of Wonder of the Seas' most popular spots, the Café Promenade on Deck 5 midship is open 24-hours a day and serves up coffee, pastries, sandwiches and snacks.
Sorrento's: It's all about pizza at this casual eatery located along the Royal Promenade on Deck 5. The pizza is quite good, too, with a menu of standard favorites alongside more creative options.
Park Café: Our favorite (and winner for most underrated complimentary dining venue on the ship), the Park Café is situated on Deck 8 in the ship's Central Park area. Deli favorites are on offer here, along with breakfast sandwiches and other items that can be enjoyed right there or as grab-and-go options.
Vitality Café: Another great hidden complimentary dining venue, the Vitality Café is nestled in the entrance to the ship's Spa on Deck 6 forward. For those looking for healthier eats, this is the place to be. The café also draws up some amazing fruit and veggie smoothies, though these do come at an extra cost -- but are included if you have the beverage package.
El Loco Fresh: Mexican eats are the order of the day at this great venue located aft on Deck 16 on the starboard side of the vessel. Burritos and tacos are made to order, and the adjacent bar makes the best Margarita we've had onboard -- though that comes at an extra cost.
Coastal Kitchen*: For suite guests, this upscale dining venue is provided complimentary. Situated on Deck 17 aft, the offerings here are primarily Mediterranean and Californian inspired.
Room Service*: Room service is complimentary for continental breakfast, but all other orders carry a $7.95 delivery fee.
150 Central Park, $$$$: Only available on Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class ships, 150 Central Park can accommodate just 60 people in an intimate and upscale setting. European in style, dishes are presented with substantial flair, with signature specials prepared tableside. Extensive tasting menus are also offered, paired with the ship's premier wine list.
Chef's Table, $$$$: Just 16 passengers can indulge in this one-of-a-kind dining experience that is hosted each evening by an Executive Chef and dedicated Sommelier. Multi-course, formal and adventurous, Chef's Table is an experience worthy of those found on upscale luxury cruise lines.
Chops Grille, $$$$: Royal Caribbean's classic American steakhouse experience, Chops Grille serves up prime cuts of beef alongside seafood options and numerous classic sides to create the ultimate seagoing steakhouse experience.
Giovanni's Kitchen and Wine Bar, $$$: Pizza and pasta creations reign supreme here, and while dinner is offered nightly, Giovanni's lunch menu is no slouch either -- and comes at a substantially reduced price. Don't miss out on the adjacent Wine Bar, either -- there are wine and cheese pairings available on most evenings.
The Mason Jar, $$$: A brand-new eatery introduced aboard Wonder of the Seas, The Mason Jar serves up Southern specialties -- think Po' Boy sandwiches, shrimp n' grits, and Meemaw's Chicken. Brunch is offered on sea days only, and spots fill up fast. Dinner is offered nightly. Be sure to check out the craft cocktails at the adjacent standalone bar, not to mention the tasty bar snacks.
Izumi, $$$$: Split into two separate rooms -- Izumi and Izumi Hibachi -- this Japanese dining venue offers up high-quality sushi, sashimi, ramen dishes and interactive teppanyaki experiences alongside a selection of creative cocktails and Japanese beers, sake and whiskey pairings.
Hooked Seafood, $$$$: Perched high atop Deck 16 overlooking the ship's Solarium, Hooked is all about New England-style seafood. Be sure to check out the raw bar selections alongside the menu of classic New England staples (yes, there is lobster!).
Wonderland, $$$$: This Alice In Wonderland-inspired venue takes a commanding, two-story location aboard Wonder of the Seas. Interactive and creative, the cuisine here is best described as imaginative, with a heavy emphasis on presentation and show. But the flavors and quality back up the razzle-dazzle -- even if you'll struggle to tell friends what it is, actually, that you ate.
Playmaker's, $$: The de-facto sports bar aboard Wonder of the Seas offers standard bar favorites, burgers, nachos, wings, and other game-friendly eats, not to mention the ship's most extensive beer list.
Johnny Rockets, $-$$: It's all about burgers and shakes here. Located on the outdoor Boardwalk area on Deck 6 aft, diners can either sit inside or enjoy their food outdoors on the patio.
Starbucks, $: Coffee, lattes, and other Starbucks creations are offered in this full-service location situated on Deck 5 at the forward end of the Royal Promenade.
Room Service, $: Anything outside of continental breakfast incurs a $7.95 delivery fee.
We were blown away by the food offerings at The Mason Jar, greedily devouring an entire plate of Meemaw's Chicken before washing it down with a Bourbon Ale in a caloric free-for-all that left us both satiated and utterly stuffed. But the lighter fare at the Vitality Café made it easier for us to indulge by night and eat healthy during the daytime. And while we enjoyed our meal at Wonderland, the restaurant's concept may be too esoteric for some. Instead, Izumi Hibachi pulled ahead as a winner for us, with its interactive teppanyaki-style dining experience, excellent service, and sumptuous food.
While dietary restrictions are catered to aboard Wonder of the Seas, it takes some proactiveness to ensure you're given the right meal. Waiters in the main dining room insisted that out of the entire menu, only chicken breast was safe to eat when informed of a nut allergy, and it came out dry and tasteless, having been stripped of all its sauces and pairings. Staff even seemed unsure about ingredients for basic dishes like Caesar Salad and shrimp cocktail and seemed to prefer to treat dietary requirements through a process of elimination rather than actually checking on ingredients (a shellfish allergy at our table was handled in a similar fashion).
Allergies in the Windjammer were hit and miss, with some staff knowing easily and readily what was in the dishes they were serving, and others responding in an unsure manner that led us to avoid certain foods altogether for lack of a straight answer.
However, allergies and dietary restrictions were handled much more gracefully and with ease in the ship's specialty restaurants, with waiters checking with the kitchen on actual ingredients and responding with confidence.
We were sailing on the first revenue cruise of Wonder of the Seas as this review was being written, so it is our expectation that this will improve over time.