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peterhof

IS IT WORTH PAYING FOR THE ALL NIGHTS DINING PACKAGE?

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I booked the udp for my October cruise. It’s my first time with specialty dining. I’m confused by the comments about it being too much food. We typically eat in the mdr each night and get all three courses (sometimes getting two apps each). I’m expecting to do the same at specialty.

 

Are people saying it’s too much just because of the lunches? We decided for $25 a day (we paid $175 for our 7 night cruise), it was worth it just for dinner and if we do any lunches it’s a bonus. We will certainly do lunch on embarkation.

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21 hours ago, agslc5 said:

I 100% agree with you.. I have been on 52 Royal Caribbean cruises and I think the MDR is terrible.. I buy the Unlimited dining plan for every cruise and boy am I happy I do.. Like you said the food is so much better and I have a much better time.. I say go for it. you already know you like the restaurants so do it and be happy. 

Well yes and no - yes because we want to eat nice food when on vacation every evening, but no as we would then not meet new people on the huge ships. Also, why should we have to do that anyway - surely Berlitz, when rating food on ships do so dependent on the quality related to the basic cruise package. With Cunard, the quality of food served depends on the grade of cabin you are in, but with RCL and others, you get the same food no matter what cabin you occupy - or have I got that wrong?

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For us, the UDP is definitely worth the price as I think the food on Allure and Harmony sounds a lot better than it tastes.  I do agree though, that there is a lot of food included in the package.

 

I have found that we don't eat breakfast on sea days and we go to lunch at Noon on those days.  I am fine with ordering a burger for lunch and I don't feel the need to have an appetizer and dessert at lunch.  I have also ordered salmon in Jamie's for lunch and enjoyed it.

 

We usually have dinner about 7PM and that seems to work for us.  I like the various restaurants onboard and there are quite a few on Oasis class ships, so we don't need to eat the same foods over and over.  My least favorite is Sabor on both ships as I don't think their food is that good.  I think it's just passable.

 

We also enjoy the dining experience itself in the specialty restaurants as opposed to the din in the main dining room.  I like being able to order a drink when we are seated and getting the drink before we have our appetizers.  That hasn't happened for us in the MDR and the drink may arrive when we are on the entree.  We have not been able to get a second glass of wine during dinner in the MDR as the servers are far too busy.  We have had excellent service especially in Chops, Jamie's and Giovanni's.

 

I don't see any drawback for our having the UDP and as long as we sail on Oasis class ships, I'm sure we will get it.

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We agree the MDR is not what it used to be but our family still enjoy our meals there and think that we would miss it if webdidn’t go there we honestly have no problems with it.

Having said that we do enjoy the odd specialty meal mainly at Chops Grille or 150 Central Park when cruising on ships that have them and think we would get a little bored having to go to a specialty restaurant say for seven consecutive nights or more especially on the ships that have only a few specialty restaurants to choose from.

Only our opinions and am quite sure others will enjoy dining in them each night.

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We purchased the UDP for our upcoming November TA. It will include 14 evenings and 9 sea days at a rate of $12 per meal if we were to eat all 23 times. Good value for the money. The other reason we booked though is as the OP said, you could go to multiple restaurants each evening. Our thought pattern was to go for apps, then return later for entree to either same restaurant or a different one and if no room for dessert take it with us. My husband and I both have restricted stomachs so cannot eat a lot at one time therefore this pattern would work very well. I am reading that ships are not allowing multiple reservations per night as suggested in the wording of the package purchase? Any feedback from anyone on this who have sailed and used the UDP so far?

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43 minutes ago, gbcruise said:

We purchased the UDP for our upcoming November TA. It will include 14 evenings and 9 sea days at a rate of $12 per meal if we were to eat all 23 times. Good value for the money. The other reason we booked though is as the OP said, you could go to multiple restaurants each evening. Our thought pattern was to go for apps, then return later for entree to either same restaurant or a different one and if no room for dessert take it with us. My husband and I both have restricted stomachs so cannot eat a lot at one time therefore this pattern would work very well. I am reading that ships are not allowing multiple reservations per night as suggested in the wording of the package purchase? Any feedback from anyone on this who have sailed and used the UDP so far?

I haven’t used the UDP yet, but I will not be surprised if you are limited to one reservation especially on your TA sailing.  I say that because I suspect many, many others will do the same math you did and decide the UDP is a good deal at that price point on your TA cruise.  So, with many guests wanting reservations, it might quickly become challenging to get reservations at a specialty restaurants.  If they allow guests to make multiple reservations per night, how will you feel if you are one of the guests with a UDP who are unable to get any reservation while other UDP guests have two or more?  If that would upset you, then you can understand why they might limit UDP guest to one reservation per night (other meals would be space available basis).  Again, I do not know if this will be the case, but perhaps do not set your hearts on two specialty restaurants per night.  I love TA cruises...have a great time!

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4 minutes ago, Starry Eyes said:

I haven’t used the UDP yet, but I will not be surprised if you are limited to one reservation especially on your TA sailing.  I say that because I suspect many, many others will do the same math you did and decide the UDP is a good deal at that price point on your TA cruise.  So, with many guests wanting reservations, it might quickly become challenging to get reservations at a specialty restaurants.  If they allow guests to make multiple reservations per night, how will you feel if you are one of the guests with a UDP who are unable to get any reservation while other UDP guests have two or more?  If that would upset you, then you can understand why they might limit UDP guest to one reservation per night (other meals would be space available basis).  Again, I do not know if this will be the case, but perhaps do not set your hearts on two specialty restaurants per night.  I love TA cruises...have a great time!

Except straight from RCL website when booking it says " You can enjoy multiple entrees and visit multiple specialty restaurants every night of your sailing". It is a selling point for the package and one that I do expect to happen as that's one of the 2 reasons we purchased it. I hope they have the logistics worked out for this. I have emailed the concierge to specify what they know. Otherwise if it looks like it will not happen this way we will cancel it and just go with usual dining. It is interesting that one policy is handled so differently on different ships. I guess just time will tell ;)) 

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Hi, Paul.  Yes, you are right.  Food in the MDR is for all classes of cabins.  The only exception is on Quantum and Oasis Class ships where suite passengers (and Pinnacles) can eat in a venue called the Coastal Kitchen.

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On 6/15/2019 at 5:03 PM, time4u2go said:

I'm guessing that somebody at Royal Caribbean must have a smile from ear to ear when they read posts like this! 

Its funny you say that because I have had the pleasure of speaking to one of the VP's who runs all the bars fleet wide.. He is very approachable and interested in guest feedback.. I made my complaints about the food known to him.. He then explained to me Royal's basic philosophy. Apparently Royal feels like they need to keep the base price for a cruise as low as possible which is why the quality of "free" food has gone down.. He said this is why they offer paid options for people who would like better quality food.. I then asked why couldn't they just raise the base cost of the cruise enough to make the "free" food better.. He said they could but its not Royal's model they try to first get everyone on the ship and then give people choices.. We happened to be on the new Coco Cay at the time of that conversation and I had just eaten at the new snack shack.. I said to him the food there is fantastic and free why can't the windjammer taste like this.. He said there really is no good reason and it should.. But yeah until the quality of food in MDR and windjammer change I will keep buying the package... Why don't I just move cruise lines.. For 2 reasons. One I like all the entertainment and shows Royal offers and the second reason is I get most of my cruises comped from the casino so Im happy. 

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4 hours ago, gbcruise said:

Except straight from RCL website when booking it says " You can enjoy multiple entrees and visit multiple specialty restaurants every night of your sailing". It is a selling point for the package and one that I do expect to happen as that's one of the 2 reasons we purchased it. I hope they have the logistics worked out for this. I have emailed the concierge to specify what they know. Otherwise if it looks like it will not happen this way we will cancel it and just go with usual dining. It is interesting that one policy is handled so differently on different ships. I guess just time will tell ;)) 

What the website says and what actually happens can be two entirely different things.  I’ve read of people eating at Playmakers and then a different restaurant on the same evening however I have not read of getting two actual reservations for restaurants on the same evening.  You may get lucky and find a restaurant that’s quiet and will allow you to walk in however I’d be extremely surprised if they allowed you to make 2 reservations for the same evening.

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14 hours ago, mickeygirl78 said:

I booked the udp for my October cruise. It’s my first time with specialty dining. I’m confused by the comments about it being too much food. We typically eat in the mdr each night and get all three courses (sometimes getting two apps each). I’m expecting to do the same at specialty.

 

Are people saying it’s too much just because of the lunches? We decided for $25 a day (we paid $175 for our 7 night cruise), it was worth it just for dinner and if we do any lunches it’s a bonus. We will certainly do lunch on embarkation.

 

I would vote that doing specialty multiple nights in a row is too much food because the portions are larger and the food is richer, so even only doing 1 app + 1 entree + 1 dessert I won't finish it in a specialty when I often can in MDR.  I couldn't do more than a few specialty dinners on a 7 night cruise because its on top of already eating larger portions, more frequently, and richer foods on a cruise.

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Posted (edited)

Please don't take this as a jab (post #30), but I would feel bad stretching one meal into multiple visits/venues, each time I am occupying a space, dirtying tablecloths, and being the responsibility of the service staff...in short, creating extra demand and work.

Edited by goldfish65

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8 hours ago, goldfish65 said:

Please don't take this as a jab (post #30), but I would feel bad stretching one meal into multiple visits/venues, each time I am occupying a space, dirtying tablecloths, and being the responsibility of the service staff...in short, creating extra demand and work.

but Royal Caribbean changed the dining plan to include this option.   Love the idea of having an appetizer and drink at a Specialty Restaurant before a show and eating diner after the show at another specialty restaurant 

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16 hours ago, gbcruise said:

Except straight from RCL website when booking it says " You can enjoy multiple entrees and visit multiple specialty restaurants every night of your sailing". It is a selling point for the package and one that I do expect to happen as that's one of the 2 reasons we purchased it. I hope they have the logistics worked out for this. I have emailed the concierge to specify what they know. Otherwise if it looks like it will not happen this way we will cancel it and just go with usual dining. It is interesting that one policy is handled so differently on different ships. I guess just time will tell ;)) 

Again, I am just taking a guess as to what might happen if their are many like-minded people (which could easily happen on a TA cruise which draw like-minded people, all of whom have time to spare).  Perhaps the concierge will be able to give you a definitive answer.  I would point out that while your website quote indicates that you can enjoy multiple venues but it does not say you are entitled to advanced reservations at multiple venues in a single evening....so the person you wrote that might say you can enjoy another venue if space is available...just catch them at the right time...maybe a late desert right before closing...sigh....not trying to defend it, I just foresee UDP diners with no reservations at all if others take two or three reservations per night.

 

Of course, if only one reservation is allowed per night, I suppose you could consider making a reservation for a party of one at one restaurant and your wife could making another, later reservation for a party of one at the other restaurant.  As the smallest tables hold two, they presumably might well accept both of you (space is, after all, available) when you arrive together at least the first time or two.  Hard to know if they will allow such an obvious ploy for an entire TA cruise, though, especially if it is negatively impacting other guests.

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10 hours ago, goldfish65 said:

Please don't take this as a jab (post #30), but I would feel bad stretching one meal into multiple visits/venues, each time I am occupying a space, dirtying tablecloths, and being the responsibility of the service staff...in short, creating extra demand and work.

I  can understand your opinion, I hope your understand that I am only asking for what the cruise line has advertised. I didn't ask them to change policy, I am asking them to enforce for my benefit what I paid for based on what they said they will give. If they will not allow multiple reservations then why make that a part of the benefit? How many people would be mad if you reserved your cruise at a set price, it went up 1K and at final payment they required you to pay the new increased price?? A war would take place most likely. I paid my fare for what they said is available. In the sum of $279 pp, I expect to get what the website says the program is about. You cannot interpret any other way that is says you can dine in multiple restaurants. That is part of the selling aspect of it. Does it negatively impact other guests, well then allow me to have them bring the dinner to my stateroom where it will not. I don't mind that if it will mean other guests have a table.

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17 minutes ago, gbcruise said:

I  can understand your opinion, I hope your understand that I am only asking for what the cruise line has advertised. I didn't ask them to change policy, I am asking them to enforce for my benefit what I paid for based on what they said they will give. If they will not allow multiple reservations then why make that a part of the benefit? How many people would be mad if you reserved your cruise at a set price, it went up 1K and at final payment they required you to pay the new increased price?? A war would take place most likely. I paid my fare for what they said is available. In the sum of $279 pp, I expect to get what the website says the program is about. You cannot interpret any other way that is says you can dine in multiple restaurants. That is part of the selling aspect of it. Does it negatively impact other guests, well then allow me to have them bring the dinner to my stateroom where it will not. I don't mind that if it will mean other guests have a table.

I am always the person who doesn't want to be extra trouble...I can see how someone would feel they are entitled to dine this way, have a great time!

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On 6/15/2019 at 2:45 PM, peterhof said:

We recently disembarked from the Indy (May 2019) after not cruising with RCL for the last eight years, and were disappointed by the obvious drop in standards of both food and wait staff in the main dining room. Just to give it a try, we booked a 3-meal pre-cruise dining package and boy are we glad we did - so much so that we are contemplating buying the 'All cruise night package, which includes specialty lunches on sea days and even dining in more than one restaurant each night!!, for our 6-night cruise on Explorer in October. The price seems a bargain, however, we a) like to dine on a large table and meet new friends and b) have worries that by the end of the cruise we would not be able to fit into our clothes!

 

The difference in food quality comparing the MDR to Chops and Geovani's Table is like comparing a cart horse to a thoroughbred race horse and way wider that the last time we cruised with RCL.

 

Does anyone else agree with me?

Yes,we were on Independence in May19 and dined the 3 nights in Giovanni's.

It was quiet, peaceful food and service was excellent.

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9 minutes ago, goldfish65 said:

I am always the person who doesn't want to be extra trouble...I can see how someone would feel they are entitled to dine this way, have a great time!

Passive aggressive post ^^, it is not "entitlement" to get what is advertised. Entitlement is to ask for something not advertised. Enough said, I will see how things work out and I am sure they will in a satisfactory way for all involved. 

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Posted (edited)

If it's $200 or less on a 7 nights I believe that it is on Oasis class or Quantum class of ships.  I sooo want to try the Unlimited dining on my next RCCL cruise. I don't think DH will go for it so I'm just going to get it and tell him we can eat anywhere. He'll be none the wiser. He's a new cruiser. I'm converting him one cruise at a time. 

Edited by cynt

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We had the UDP and drink package bundle last time we were on the Freedom. I loved it but my wife missed eating in the MDR. I'd get it again even if we only ate specialty dining 4 out of the 7 nights.

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We're on the Independence of the Seas in July. Previously sailed on Harmony with many specialty restaurants. Still trying to work out whether its worth the UDP (£258.72pp) on Independence with so few restaurants? Does anyone know if we'd be able to sign up to this once on board?

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23 minutes ago, Lmggastro said:

We're on the Independence of the Seas in July. Previously sailed on Harmony with many specialty restaurants. Still trying to work out whether its worth the UDP (£258.72pp) on Independence with so few restaurants? Does anyone know if we'd be able to sign up to this once on board?

 

There is no guarantee that any dining package will be offered onboard.

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On 6/16/2019 at 4:32 PM, gbcruise said:

We purchased the UDP for our upcoming November TA. It will include 14 evenings and 9 sea days at a rate of $12 per meal if we were to eat all 23 times. Good value for the money. The other reason we booked though is as the OP said, you could go to multiple restaurants each evening. Our thought pattern was to go for apps, then return later for entree to either same restaurant or a different one and if no room for dessert take it with us. My husband and I both have restricted stomachs so cannot eat a lot at one time therefore this pattern would work very well. I am reading that ships are not allowing multiple reservations per night as suggested in the wording of the package purchase? Any feedback from anyone on this who have sailed and used the UDP so far?

 

Which ship?

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4 hours ago, gbcruise said:

I  can understand your opinion, I hope your understand that I am only asking for what the cruise line has advertised. I didn't ask them to change policy, I am asking them to enforce for my benefit what I paid for based on what they said they will give. If they will not allow multiple reservations then why make that a part of the benefit? How many people would be mad if you reserved your cruise at a set price, it went up 1K and at final payment they required you to pay the new increased price?? A war would take place most likely. I paid my fare for what they said is available. In the sum of $279 pp, I expect to get what the website says the program is about. You cannot interpret any other way that is says you can dine in multiple restaurants. That is part of the selling aspect of it. Does it negatively impact other guests, well then allow me to have them bring the dinner to my stateroom where it will not. I don't mind that if it will mean other guests have a table.

 

Your scenario is just a logistical nightmare. Kind of like telling JS passengers they can eat dinner at CK. Once onboard they are told as space is available.  Probably what you'll experience on your TA

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