Since the Jetsons premiered in the ’60s, we’ve been waiting for the day when robots would cater to our every whim. When you can just push a button and you’re automatically showered and dressed. Or when you have a robot like Rosie cleaning the house and taking care of the kids. It’s fifty years later, and we’re still far from that goal. But at Royal Caribbean’s Bionic Bar, you can at least try a drink made by a robotic bartender.
Bionic Bar Debuted on Quantum of the Seas
Royal Caribbean debuted the first robotic bartender at sea in 2014 when it introduced the Quantum of the Seas. The Quantum-class of ships was supposed to represent the epitome of technology in cruising, and so it made sense to be the first to have robotic bartenders.
Royal Caribbean called on Makr Shakr, a leader in robotic bar solutions, to help bring this dream to the sea. While Makr Shakr has a few other installations on land (you may have seen the one in Las Vegas at the Miracle Mile Shops in Planet Hollywood), Royal Caribbean ships are the easiest places to find this bartender.
A Futuristic Bar on a Cruise Ship
Royal Caribbean named this new bar “Bionic Bar” and styled it with a futuristic theme. The bar has two robotic arms that whip up cocktails for guests at a rate of two drinks per minute. These six-axis arms resemble the type of robots you might see assembling cars, but they were explicitly designed for muddling, stirring, shaking, and straining cocktails for guests. Each ship’s robot has its own name. Below, you’ll see Mix and Mingle from the Harmony of the Seas.
In the ceiling above the two robots, 30 different spirits and 21 mixers are suspended overhead. This area is where the “bartenders” will grab the ingredients for the cocktail. The bottles are suspended upside-down, meaning gravity helps dispense the ingredients, eliminating the need for pumps or messy tubing that would have to be clean. Using these ingredients, they can make up to 1,000 cocktails a day.
Ordering a drink from the Bionic Bar
One nice thing about the Bionic Bar is that you’re not going to have to wait in a long line to give the bartender your order. Tablets are mounted to tables throughout the bar to allow guests to place their orders. You simply tap your SeaPass card to the top and then browse through the premade recipes.
Once you’ve selected what you want, you place your order, and your drink is sent to the queue. The screen next to the robots will show you where your drink is in the line and estimate when it’ll be ready.
When it’s your turn, your name will come up, and the screen will show the steps the robot takes to make your drink. The screen itself is innovative; it puts the LED display behind a mirror rather than a flat-panel TV/monitor. It gives it a much more futuristic feel.
You’ll watch as your bartender gathers all your ingredients and then mixes, shakes, or strains it into a glass as requested. Then the robot pours the drink into a plastic cup. Finally, the display will show that your drink is ready.
You walk up to the bar and tap your SeaPass against the bar. It will verify you are the right person for this cocktail and slide it over to you so you can grab it.
What kind of drinks are at the Bionic Bar?
The Bionic Bar doesn’t have any blenders, so you’re not going to be getting any frozen margaritas or daiquiris here. The bar has a variety of liquors and mixers though, and you can get your drink on the rocks or straight up.
With 30 spirits and 21 mixers, thousands, if not millions, of combinations are possible. You can even get non-alcoholic drinks using just syrups and sodas.
We noticed people who made their own recipes were often unhappy with the quantity they received. The premade recipes are made to be the optimum size. If you make your own and miss things like a mixer or ice, your cup will look empty even though you got what you asked for. So I suggest sticking to the premade recipes.
Bionic Bar Drink Menu
How much do drinks cost at the Bionic Bar?
The price per drink can vary, but on average, it was about $14 per cocktail on my November 2022 sailing on Harmony of the Seas (you can follow along on your cruise here). You still have to pay Royal Caribbean’s 18% gratuity here, even though there’s no human bartender, so the total cost is $16.52 per drink. It’s on par with the prices you’ll see for drinks at other Royal Caribbean bars.
How are the drinks at the Bionic Bar?
Like any drink, there will be some debate over what’s good and bad. Some people like strong drinks, some like weak, some like sweet, and some like sour. One thing you’ll know for sure, though, is that the cocktail is consistent. Because of the precision of the robots, you know you’re going to get the same thing every time. The same can’t be said if you go to two different bartenders on different parts of the ship.
Which ships have the Bionic Bar?
You can check out the Bionic Bar on any of these Royal Caribbean ships:
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