Rita’s Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas statue
Location

Rita’s Cantina is a Mexican themed restaurant aboard Royal Caribbean‘s Allure of the Seas cruise ship. It is located on the ship’s BoardWalk.The deck which is on the ship’s sixth deck aims to replicate a Coney Island boardwalk and boasts a handcrafted carousel, several food venues including a hot dog stand, ice cream place, and the Aqua Theater. Though boardwalk tends to be more noisy and crowded at night, it still maintains its family friendly vibe the cruise line is so famous for.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas hat
When you should go

The restaurant is open for lunchtime and dinner when the ship is at sea.On most days one can just walk- in or wait for a little to get a table, however, Fiesta Nights are popular so make sure you book your desired date in advance if you want to participate.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas table
What you can expect

The restaurant painted in vibrant colors is on the small side with the majority of tables providing an open a view of the ship’s Boardwalk.Most tables are for 8-10 persons though there are a few smaller ones that accommodate parties of four persons.Although the main stage is in the front of the venue, the music and dancing encompass virtually the entire restaurant, spilling into the boardwalk at times.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas carusel

Should you go?

Although on the ‘kitschy’ side it is still fun to attend and the food is surprisingly good.In the $20 per person package fiesta you get several rounds of appetizers and main courses that are served on family style platters and replenished as needed.The package also includes three margaritas or any other alcoholic drink of choice for passengers 21 and up as well as unlimited sodas drink for patrons under 21.

Noteworthy
The fresh guacamole and salsa were a great starter and, unfortunately, we ended up eating too much, leaving less space for the variety of food items that followed.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas food
Autism travel tips

Since the restaurant is incredibly noisy, ask to be seated in a booth -away from the main dancing floor or loud speakers when you make your reservation.
If your child is noise sensitive, bring earplugs or noise canceling headphones.
The food menu is fixed with no real selection possibility so if your kid is on a restricted diet, ask the Maitre D’  to bring food from alternate ship food venues.
When you first arrive the servers hand out Mexican sombrero straw hats for the guys and light-up necklaces for the ladies but the staff is very accommodating and will let you chose whichever trinket your kid prefers. Our son found the sombrero hat itchy and opted to take the light-up necklace instead.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas entree
Our personal favorite

Like many other fellow diners, our kids found the fresh churros with the chocolate dip pretty irresistible and asked for seconds, and third helpings.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas nachos

 

Mariner of the Seas Portofino restaurant

The service

The service at  Mariner of the Seas  Portofino restaurant was just right, being neither slow nor rushed, and quite well coordinated.The Maitre D’ was very understanding after my short explanation and even permitted our son to wear his usual shorts and t-shirt combo instead of the more dressy attire usually required. He even helped to cut Jeff’s steak and returned to the table multiple times to inquire as to whether we had any other needs or requests.
Moreover, when our server noticed that our son liked the eggplant dip, he replenished it continuously. They were somewhat dismayed to see me leave before the meal ended and gave my husband my dessert platter to take back to our cabin (in case I wished to enjoy it later.)I wanted to, but my son beat me to it and had a second helping for the evening.

The decor and food

The venue decorated in dark tones of gold and winter greens had an understated modern look with its velvet seating and stainless steel open kitchen. The dishes offered in the restaurant’s prix fixe menu were average sized, beautifully presented and tasty.Our sons’ favorites were as expected the assorted fresh bread and the mouth watering desserts!

Noteworthy

On a personal note: I enjoyed the music played, composed of a selection of San Remo 60’s and 70’s Festival winners, the likes of Peppino di Capri and the famous duo of Romina Powell and Albano, for those who are familiar with the genre. It not only provided me with a rare chance to expose my family to a different type of music but also to reminisce about my favorite childhood songs.

Autism travel tips

Since this is an upscale venue on the ship, I would recommend trying this restaurant only if you have kids or teens that have had some gastronomic exposure and are eager to sample different Italian regional dishes, as it would be difficult to enjoy a meal sitting next to a fussy eater or misbehaving child.
The trick to enjoying the Mariner of the Seas  Portofino restaurant when traveling with autistic family members is to go as early as possible during the cruise, preferably even the first night.
Also, you should never book a table for a formal night, and always try to be the first customers in the restaurant when it opens. By doing so, it ensures that the restaurant will not be overcrowded, allowing a more personalizedservice from the crew and complete parental relaxation.

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