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Ultimate Dining Package To Be Replaced

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1 hour ago, Ronaldo807 said:

 

This will be great as we are going on Harmony in May. I'm interested to see how it works for lunch on embarkation day, if vintages is included, if hibachi is included, and if you can go to places like Johnny Rockets/Sabor once they open on port days which appears to be around 2:00-3:00.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen vintages open for lunch on embarkation day?

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I will be super curious to see how this plays out real time. Hibachi seems to be pretty full the moment you step onboard, so even for its “included” availability will probably be very limited. 

 

We like to have more control of dining times so have never done a package. But I’m guessing this will be good for us trying to book in advance and pay in full because now most will try to do a package and will no longer be our competition. 

 

But again, curious to see how it plays out. 

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Yes, I'm very curious to see how easy it will be to get reservations and get into the specialty restaurants. That does seem to be the crucial point in the fine print...they guarantee you ONE reservation on the first night and then you have to make all other reservations on board and ARE SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY. It's the lack of ability to reserve in advance that puts a damper on my enthusiasm for the idea...

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6 hours ago, vacationlover_mn said:

For Izumi, on sea days, under the old package, on Symphony, it was a $35 credit for non hibachi, in late feb.

 

as far as I know, none of the places open for breakfast have ever had a charge?  If JR is open, it’s always been a free breakfast

Lol I am thinking the joke flew over your head...

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On 4/12/2019 at 10:09 AM, Ronaldo807 said:

I messaged Royal on FB and was told that embarkation lunch is not included even though specialty dining restaurants may be open. Your package begins with your first dinner onboard. You can dine at any of our venues during the operational hours (again this contradicts embarkation day). Playmakers is included with the package and hibachi is now included.

 

Take it for what it's worth, but that's from Royal.

 

On 4/12/2019 at 12:43 PM, janesdavid said:

It looks like RCC has a lot to figure out: I wrote them on FB:

 

"does the "Unlimited Dining Package" now include playmakers and Hibachi"

"also - can it be used for lunch on embarkation day?"

 

Response:

 

"Hey, there. Playmakers is now included, however, Izumi Hibachi isn't. You'll be able to use it for embarkation day lunch. -Jo-Ann"

 

On 4/12/2019 at 2:56 PM, robntawn said:

That's exactly what I was told when I contacted corporate office (Tamika Thompson).  Playmakers and Hibachi included, no embarkation lunch, lunch on sea days IS included, no tapas in Vintages, and $35 credit for ala carte restaurants such as regular Izumi.

 

I also want to add that I sent my question directly to Corporate office, and Tamika works under Mr Bayley.  Perhaps she is a better and more knowledgable source than FB.  Hopefully.

As someone who always buys a dining package, The one thing I can assure you of, is there will be zero consistency. Royal is too lazy to make a chart that spells it out and all the rules. So it will be left to staff discretion, which will vary greatly. So buy this package, assuming yo will not get playmakers or hibachi and be pleased when they allow it. The tapas at vintages would be a great perk for me, but I am assuming they're going to call that a bar... as is playmakers.🤷‍♀️

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6 hours ago, tinkr2 said:

 

 

As someone who always buys a dining package, The one thing I can assure you of, is there will be zero consistency. Royal is too lazy to make a chart that spells it out and all the rules. So it will be left to staff discretion, which will vary greatly. So buy this package, assuming yo will not get playmakers or hibachi and be pleased when they allow it. The tapas at vintages would be a great perk for me, but I am assuming they're going to call that a bar... as is playmakers.🤷‍♀️

Sad but true

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6 hours ago, tinkr2 said:

 

 

As someone who always buys a dining package, The one thing I can assure you of, is there will be zero consistency. Royal is too lazy to make a chart that spells it out and all the rules. So it will be left to staff discretion, which will vary greatly. So buy this package, assuming yo will not get playmakers or hibachi and be pleased when they allow it. The tapas at vintages would be a great perk for me, but I am assuming they're going to call that a bar... as is playmakers.🤷‍♀️

 

Agree, except that I think the absence of a chart or other detailed written document is not due to laziness, but by design.  Similar situations happen again and again with Royal, it's part of their corporate policy to be ambiguous and imprecise. This way they can slowly diminish the perk over time.

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8 hours ago, Anita Latte said:

Yes, I'm very curious to see how easy it will be to get reservations and get into the specialty restaurants. That does seem to be the crucial point in the fine print...they guarantee you ONE reservation on the first night and then you have to make all other reservations on board and ARE SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY. It's the lack of ability to reserve in advance that puts a damper on my enthusiasm for the idea...

 

I did a booking for Izumi just to see what the availability looks like (I’m around 90 days out). The only times available are 5:00, 5:15, 5:30, 9:00, 9:15, 9:30 every day. Do they keep some inventory back for people booking on board or have all the 6-9 times already been reserved for all days?

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7 hours ago, tinkr2 said:

Lol I am thinking the joke flew over your head...

While I don't see the reason people are getting wound up over frozen french fries and average burgers, I'm serious about breakfast.  There is definitely the ability on these ships to have specialty breakfast.  Have you seen the a la carte breakfast menu for the MDR lately?  It has been reduced to 5 entrees.  They have expanded the breakfast buffet in the dining room.  Result:  Lines to get in on the large ships because the WJ's are absolutely overflowing all morning and afternoon.  Personally I like a light breakfast, but if they are going to go all in on specialty every night and lunch on sea days (and sea day lunch in MDR is excellent, so not sure specialty lunch is a big plus here) why not offer specialty breakfasts?  No where onboard do they offer anything "up notch" for breakfast if you aren't in a suite. 

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54 minutes ago, reaton said:

 

I did a booking for Izumi just to see what the availability looks like (I’m around 90 days out). The only times available are 5:00, 5:15, 5:30, 9:00, 9:15, 9:30 every day. Do they keep some inventory back for people booking on board or have all the 6-9 times already been reserved for all days?

 

The only times offered for hibachi are: 5:00, 5:15, 5:30, 7:00, 7:15, 7:30, 9:00, 9:15, 9:30.

 

There are three tables with three staggered seatings. 

 

So they're holding back the three prime times for boarding/suites and in my experience they have always done this.  We've never had problems booking the 5:30 and then getting a late snack at windjammer if needed.

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35 minutes ago, sharktums said:

 

The only times offered for hibachi are: 5:00, 5:15, 5:30, 7:00, 7:15, 7:30, 9:00, 9:15, 9:30.

 

There are three tables with three staggered seatings. 

 

So they're holding back the three prime times for boarding/suites and in my experience they have always done this.  We've never had problems booking the 5:30 and then getting a late snack at windjammer if needed.

 

This is my concern with the unlimited package. Dependent on what specialty dining options are available on the ship, there will be a varying degree of breakeven point for the UDP. The appeal of the package is this idea that you can eat whenever you want, wherever you want, but the reality will be that you have to figure out your reservations...combine that with trying to figure out your reservations for show times and other such things (especially Oasis class) and it isn't really the carefree specialty dining experience Royal is marketing it to be. It is a scheduling NIGHTMARE to add to your boarding day...not exactly my idea of a fun vacation. IDK...maybe that thought is enough of a deterrent to keep it all from being the nightmare that it feels like it would be to me. This is how Royal will make their money on this package IMO...people will have this lofty expectation but making it work in the customer's favor could be quite challenging...and so, people will pay $199 to eat out a few times, but not make the breakeven point. Time will tell...I'm very interested to hear reports of UDP, especially on Oasis class. I'm sailing Harmony Feb 2020.

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I am on the Anthem next month, I bought the UDP months ago and it showed that lunch was included and $35 to the a la carte restaurants, since hibachi is not on Anthem I did confirm Izumi was included with the $35.  

 

This new version is showing the JR is included as well.  Am I grandfathered in, should I expect changes to my package? Anyone been able to confirm the differences and what I should expect next month having booked the older version. 

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3 minutes ago, Floating Lanai said:

I am on the Anthem next month, I bought the UDP months ago and it showed that lunch was included and $35 to the a la carte restaurants, since hibachi is not on Anthem I did confirm Izumi was included with the $35.  

 

This new version is showing the JR is included as well.  Am I grandfathered in, should I expect changes to my package? Anyone been able to confirm the differences and what I should expect next month having booked the older version. 

 

It sounds like the Ultimate package has been converted to the Unlimited package, so I would expect that you will get the additions (if any) provided by the Unlimited.

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1 hour ago, Host Clarea said:

 

It sounds like the Ultimate package has been converted to the Unlimited package, so I would expect that you will get the additions (if any) provided by the Unlimited.

 

Thanks. Just checked my cruise planner, it is showing my reservation as the Unlimited (not the ultimate).  It is also showing Izumi (Even without Hibachi on the Anthem) is a set price instead of a la carte. 

 

So I am assuming, the only change is we can now use this at JRs and eat multiple times in 1 night? 

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On 4/10/2019 at 7:10 PM, Mikew0805 said:

How is this an actual problem? How many dinners does a person need? 🙄

 

Not directed at you... just the idea of this.

 

Not necessarily the need for multiple dinners, however I did find for instance I preferred appetizers at one place, and entree's at another.  I could totally see going for appetizers around 6ish somewhere, and then a dinner later around 8 or 8:30.  

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3 hours ago, sharktums said:

 

The only times offered for hibachi are: 5:00, 5:15, 5:30, 7:00, 7:15, 7:30, 9:00, 9:15, 9:30.

 

There are three tables with three staggered seatings. 

 

So they're holding back the three prime times for boarding/suites and in my experience they have always done this.  We've never had problems booking the 5:30 and then getting a late snack at windjammer if needed.

 

Thanks for the clarification! I could see where the unlimited change may make the later seating more possible. Drop in to Sabor around 5 for drinks and chips (maybe a taco for DH), then do actual dinner at 9. 

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35 minutes ago, reaton said:

 

Thanks for the clarification! I could see where the unlimited change may make the later seating more possible. Drop in to Sabor around 5 for drinks and chips (maybe a taco for DH), then do actual dinner at 9. 

 

35 minutes ago, reaton said:

 

Thanks for the clarification! I could see where the unlimited change may make the later seating more possible. Drop in to Sabor around 5 for drinks and chips (maybe a taco for DH), then do actual dinner at 9. 

I just sent a message Royal caribean Alexis told me that embarkation lunch is included as long as it's there is availability just go and they will seat you

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5 hours ago, Anita Latte said:

 

This is my concern with the unlimited package. Dependent on what specialty dining options are available on the ship, there will be a varying degree of breakeven point for the UDP. The appeal of the package is this idea that you can eat whenever you want, wherever you want, but the reality will be that you have to figure out your reservations...combine that with trying to figure out your reservations for show times and other such things (especially Oasis class) and it isn't really the carefree specialty dining experience Royal is marketing it to be. It is a scheduling NIGHTMARE to add to your boarding day...not exactly my idea of a fun vacation. IDK...maybe that thought is enough of a deterrent to keep it all from being the nightmare that it feels like it would be to me. This is how Royal will make their money on this package IMO...people will have this lofty expectation but making it work in the customer's favor could be quite challenging...and so, people will pay $199 to eat out a few times, but not make the breakeven point. Time will tell...I'm very interested to hear reports of UDP, especially on Oasis class. I'm sailing Harmony Feb 2020.

This has always been the case with the dining packages on any of the big ships, whether it be NCL or Royal. I have been a specialty girl since day 1 and I thought my first Oasis cruise was a nightmare in planning. I have since gotten used to it as will everyone else. I just arrive with my show schedule written out and a list of what I would like. It does put pressure on me when I board. I may step up to suites just for the perk of the concierge.

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On 4/15/2019 at 11:49 AM, LMaxwell said:

$35 credit one time, or $35 per seating?  I could see JR's being a once and done thing, but if people love Izumi do they get a $35 credit for lunch and then $35 for dinner, each day of the cruise if they so choose?  

 

When is breakfast being added?

My mistake. I thought you were teasing about Izumi for breakfast with a 35 credit. In Japan , sashimi and rice is a breakfast staple. And I guess I did pay for a specialty breakfast . I bought the key and thought I would enjoy the filet and eggs as I depart.

21 hours ago, vacationlover_mn said:

For Izumi, on sea days, under the old package, on Symphony, it was a $35 credit for non hibachi, in late feb.

 

as far as I know, none of the places open for breakfast have ever had a charge?  If JR is open, it’s always been a free breakfast

I stand corrected.He was not joking. He wants pay breakfast.

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On 4/11/2019 at 8:36 AM, Icesk8rReedy said:

I noticed this new plan is already in my cruise planner for my cruise April next year.  I'm actually considering it since you get lunch in specialty restaurants on sea days too plus the $35/pp credit for a la carte items.  It does have BOGO, 5 dinner, and UDP, plus each individual restaurant listed to already take reservations.  Seriously considering the UDP now.  It's $168 for my cruise and we could eat all places more than once.

 

When did dining and beverage options become available in your cruise planner for April 2020?  We sail Anthem on April 12, 2020, and dining, beverage and entertainment options aren't available yet.

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13 minutes ago, tinkr2 said:

My mistake. I thought you were teasing about Izumi for breakfast with a 35 credit. In Japan , sashimi and rice is a breakfast staple. And I guess I did pay for a specialty breakfast . I bought the key and thought I would enjoy the filet and eggs as I depart.

I stand corrected.He was not joking. He wants pay breakfast.

Good,  better, best is a time tested sales strategy. I think there is a demand for a quiet, relaxed environment with table service and stuff beyond omlettes and pancakes for breakfast.  

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Posted (edited)

This process bodes well for those that don’t need unlimited specialty dining because availability for booking in advance will have less competition. I looked at the numbers for our next  two cruises and only on one cruise are we paying more by booking in advance vs unlimited.   And that’s partly  because it includes chefs table which isn’t a part of unlimited.   We are in the coastal kitchen a couple times so that definitely helps our additional specialty dinner costs

 

I guess if you want lunch and breakfast specialty or multiple dinner options per night you could come out  ahead. Assuming there is availability.    I can’t see is doing specialty dining for anything but dinner except for one son who likes JR so it probably wouldn’t make sense for us anyway. I am willing to pay a little extra to have plans in advance and more control of our experience. 

 

 

Edited by cindivan

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1 hour ago, KelJ said:

 

When did dining and beverage options become available in your cruise planner for April 2020?  We sail Anthem on April 12, 2020, and dining, beverage and entertainment options aren't available yet.

A few weeks ago. Beverage options aren't available yet but dining ones are and so is internet and excursions.

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11 minutes ago, Icesk8rReedy said:

A few weeks ago. Beverage options aren't available yet but dining ones are and so is internet and excursions.

 

Thanks. We’ve had shore excursions and spa services since we booked, but we are still waiting on everything else.

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