Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Royal Caribbean's Snazzy Soda Dispensers

A Big Thumbs UP on This New Feature

Photo by CruiseReady, 2013
Royal Caribbean has installed new Coke dispensers on some of their ships.  The original announcement indicated that the intention was to eventually have them fleet wide, but I'm not sure where that stands at this point.  I had a chance to try them out recently on the Enchantment of the Seas, and they're a real plus for soda drinkers.  It was nice not to have to wait for a bar to open to grab some early morning carbonated caffeine.

Now cruisers who have purchased the unlimited fountain soda package can saunter up to one of the machines and fill their special cups at will.  Well, almost. There's a built in timer to limit you to one refill every fifteen minutes.  But that's plenty often enough.

The machines can only be activated with the special glass you get when you pay for the drink package.  So, whatever you do, don't lose it!
Photo by CruiseReady, 2013

Not only do you not have to wait in line at a bar to get a soda, but there are tons more selections available than there would be from behind the bar.  All of them are not immediately apparent.  

I felt a bit like a kid in a candy store when, upon selecting Diet Coke from among the initial 20 selections, I are presented with a range of different flavors from which to choose.  I tried a few of them, including plain, lime, cherry, vanilla, and raspberry.  I never got around to trying the orange flavor, though.  Next time, I guess.  

As for the special cups, they are newly designed, with easier to screw on and off tops.  They are chipped, not only for the 15 minute timer I mentioned earlier, but also with an expiration date, so they can't be used on a future cruise.  

Photo by CruiseReady, 2013
Here's a comparative photo, with an old coke cup on the left and one of the new ones on the right.  The new ones seem to hold just as much as, if not a little bit more than, the old ones.

You do still get a sticker on your Sea Pass card, so you can show it at dinner, or use it to get a glass of soda when you don't have your cup with you.  But the new serve yourself option sure is nice.

The only suggestion I would make if Royal Caribbean were to ask me would be to install another machine or two at other points around the ship.  There were several on deck nine, where the pool and Windjammer are, and one on deck six.  I would have liked to have seen them on one or two other decks, as well.