Skip to main content

Royal Caribbean Adds (Potentially) Controversial New Bar Idea

The cruise line likes to try new things, but its latest idea might be pushing boundaries too far.

Cruise ships offer a mix of family fun and adult access. If you cruise on Royal Caribbean (RCL) - Get Free Report, Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) - Get Free Report, or Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) - Get Free Report, you get a mix of all-ages activities as well as areas just for kids and teens, and of course, adult-only areas. 

Aside from the kids/teen-specific spaces, the casino, and to an extent the Solarium pool area, which is 16+, the vast majority of the spaces on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship are all ages. Your kids can join you to watch the guitarist in the British pub or to see the piano player in the Schooner Bar. They can also sing along with you at Karaoke or watch the game at Playmakers.

Royal Caribbean caters to families and it has made its ships family-friendly to the point where the very adult activity of having an alcoholic beverage takes place in mixed-age areas. That includes not just the bars but also the pool area, and pretty much every place all over the ship.

On the current ships. however, while kids can go to bars and those venues serve soda and will make virgin (alcohol-free) drinks, the cruise line does not really offer all-ages bars. Now, on its next ship, the first-of-its-class Icon of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has a whole new bar idea that's either brilliant or a really bad idea.

Icon of the Seas Interactive Lead JS 101922

Icon of the Seas Has a Family 'Neighborhood'    

Like Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class ships, Icon of the Seas will be built around a neighborhood structure. The ship will be replacing the Boardwalk neighborhood and adding in Surfside, a neighborhood just for families. The cruise line described the new neighborhood as follows:

Surfside -- Introducing a neighborhood made for young families from end to end, where adults and kids ages six and under will want to stay and play all day. Grownups can soak up the endless views at Water’s Edge pool, as they keep an eye on the kids at Splashaway Bay and Baby Bay. Only steps away are dining options, places to lounge, a bar, the signature carousel, an arcade, Adventure Ocean, and Social020 for teens.

The bar in Surfside will be called the "Lemon Post Bar." It's a unique concept that sure to be popular with kids.

"The Lemon Post Bar, another newly revealed addition to the ship's food and beverages offerings, will be found in the new Surfside neighborhood. Because it will be located in a neighborhood intended for families with children, the Lemon Post Bar will feature a 'mommy and me' concept where children can enjoy an alcohol-free version of the adult drinks," CruiseCritic reported.

Royal Caribbean Adds a Family-Friendly Bar

While bars have always made kid-friendly drinks, especially on cruise ships, having one that directly caters to families is a unique concept that has the potential to raise some eyebrows. It's easy to see what Royal Caribbean is doing, but also easy to see why some people might express concern about a bar that sort of creates junior drinkers. 

"Toast to your best family vacation ever at a new family-friendly hangout mixing up kid-approved sips as well as grownup drinks with a twist," the cruise line shared in media materials for Icon of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean (not to mention Carnival and Norwegian) have always blended adult experiences alongside family-friendly ones. That's not all that different from what Disney offers at Epcot's World Showcase, but it's a bit bold to actually create a family-friendly bar and, while the intent is clear, the execution might be a bit problematic.