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Unlimited Dining Package - conflicting info


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Hi,

 

I am seeing some conflicting info about the Unlimited Dining Package.  When I booked it in the cruise planner it said that a reservation will be made for the first night, but other nights are to be booked once onboard.  But, on the FAQ for dining on the RC web page it says..."All dining packages can be purchased onboard or after payment applied toward a reservation; however, availability for the packages is limited so we suggest they are purchased precruise (through the Cruise Planner) to have the best selection of dining times."

 

I have had the package before, but we "royaled up" to a suite so the concierge did it for us so I didn't pay attention.   We had a less than stellar experience in the MDR so will probably specialty dine every night.  Am I able to book them pre-cruise?  Anyone have any experience with this?

 

Also, if I book a dinner at, lets say, Chops, and just prepay for the booking through cruise planner, will they just refund it on the ship when they realize I have the package?  

 

Thanks, and sorry for what I am sure is a repeat question.

 

Thank you!

 

.

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On my last cruise in November 2019 on Allure our party did the UDP.  The first night’s reservation was made for us as stated above.  The first thing we did on embarkation day was to head to the speciality restaurant reservation people, who were located on the promenade.  Then we made all of the reservations for the remaining nights.  It was really easy!

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Agree, first night is booked on our January 5 Allure sailing it was set at Sabor.  There is no way to justify the price to eat at Sabor.  We boarded at 10:30, before noon, I was at Giovannis and I made reservations for our group of 6 for the rest of the cruise.  I had a list of our show times and when we were in port, and in 10 minutes I made our reservations.  I wish I knew the flowrider schedule. 😉

 

jc

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On our September 2019 Harmony cruise they had a table set up in the Port Canaveral terminal waiting area where they were taking restaurant reservations prior to boarding. We had the UDP and were able to make all our reservations there before boarding. Not sure if this is still happening. If so, good reason to arrive early to the terminal. 

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This is helpful information for me, although stressful as a Type A person LOL

 

I am trying to decide on a cruise for February 2021 and Allure/Harmony are in the running over my MSC YC and NCL Haven so I need to price out everything since some we get with the other lines (for instance, the spa area is included in the YC and I can book spa balcony or Haven Spa on NCL, included alcohol, etc.)

 

With the UDP, is this just for dinners?  Can you also use for lunch? If you use for lunch, are you then short one night for dinner?
I am leaving my family at home and traveling with my mom and for the most part, she is a cruise snob, thus the reason she only sails in Haven or YC and I am trying to avoid the MDR.  We will not be doing a suite on RCCL.

 

Thank you.

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34 minutes ago, js said:

With the UDP, is this just for dinners?  Can you also use for lunch? If you use for lunch, are you then short one night for dinner?

 

You can use the UDP anytime the restaurant is open and they have availability.   Some of them are open on sea days for lunch; some are on a later lunch open on port days where it makes sense.

 

You can visit one restaurant at 5pm and have dessert at another one at 9pm if you like.  It is "unlimited" in the sense that you aren't getting X number of dining credits for the cruise, but the ability to visit the restaurants as many times as you want.  Note that reservations are recommended and when you do a dining package you can't make reservations until you get on the ship.  UDP also works at the ala carte restaurants (Portside BBQ, Playmakers, Izumu sushi) where there isn't a cover charge but rather you pay a menu price for what you order,

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6 minutes ago, AshleyDillo said:

 

You can use the UDP anytime the restaurant is open and they have availability.   Some of them are open on sea days for lunch; some are on a later lunch open on port days where it makes sense.

 

You can visit one restaurant at 5pm and have dessert at another one at 9pm if you like.  It is "unlimited" in the sense that you aren't getting X number of dining credits for the cruise, but the ability to visit the restaurants as many times as you want.  Note that reservations are recommended and when you do a dining package you can't make reservations until you get on the ship.  UDP also works at the ala carte restaurants (Portside BBQ, Playmakers, Izumu sushi) where there isn't a cover charge but rather you pay a menu price for what you order,

 

Thank you very much for this information.

So, it can also be used for Wonderland or 150, is that correct and can you go to the same restaurant twice, all week, etc.?

 

If I get the package, which I will, I will need to get on the ship early and book exactly what I want in the Promanade, correct?

 

Edited by js
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JS not exactly.  You can book your meals at any of the specialty restaurants.  Which is where I do it. They can see your reservation and hook you up.  Wonderland and 150, Giovannis, Chops, Sabor Habachi Grill, Jamie’s, most of the restaurants can be booked and if you love Giovannis you can eat every single evening meal there and most of the lunches (when at sea or boarding the ship).

 

jc

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On 1/29/2020 at 11:39 PM, thrifty99 said:

On our September 2019 Harmony cruise they had a table set up in the Port Canaveral terminal waiting area where they were taking restaurant reservations prior to boarding. We had the UDP and were able to make all our reservations there before boarding. Not sure if this is still happening. If so, good reason to arrive early to the terminal. 

On our Jan 19-26-2020 cruise, there was no one taking reservations in the terminal.  We had to go to the dining room to do so.  Last year in Jan, it was the same thing.

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34 minutes ago, katiel53 said:

On our Jan 19-26-2020 cruise, there was no one taking reservations in the terminal.  We had to go to the dining room to do so.  Last year in Jan, it was the same thing.

We will check again in April. This was in the Port Canaveral terminal for Harmony and the table was set up outside of the Key seating / waiting area.  It only had a small sign on the table that could easily be missed and hardly anyone was there. It was a great way to schedule dinners while waiting to board. 
 

This was the shortened cruise due to Hurricane Dorian. Maybe they did it just for the shortened cruise???

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46 minutes ago, smakl said:

If we use the UDP for a lunch at Johnny Rockets can we then use it later on that same day for a lunch at BBQ?  (and then have a specialty dinner too)

Theoretically, yes.  All of the ships implement the UDP differently and so there is a great deal of inconsistency.  Shocking, I know....

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4 hours ago, smakl said:

If we use the UDP for a lunch at Johnny Rockets can we then use it later on that same day for a lunch at BBQ?  (and then have a specialty dinner too)

No problems doing something very similar on Oasis a few weeks ago. 

 

Lunch at Playmakers, snack at Portside at 4 and dinner at 9:00

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 I am also so lost on this UDP. We got a great deal on Black Friday for $179 pp for unlimited on a 7 day symphony cruise on march 7th.

 

I was indeed so confused how this worked I emailed RC and this is what I wrote

  • .This is our first ever Royal Caribbean cruise. We purchased the unlimited dining package and we were wondering does the Unlimited dining start as soon as we walk onto the ship at arrival or does it only begin that evening? The reason why am asking is I noticed there is a lunch for key program members at chops Grill but I did not know if we were able to eat there with our unlimited dining package as we did not purchase the key program.
  • Also for unlimited dining I just want to understand that we are able to eat at specialty restaurants for lunch as well as dinner?
  • And lets  say we had dinner at Wonderland but we did not  like the food could we also go to another specialty dining restaurant on the same evening? ( should they be able to accommodate us)

this was the reply from RC....

 

  • I am happy to provide information about your Unlimited Dining Package! Your package will take effect beginning with dinner on the first night of your sailing. As you may know, a courtesy reservation will be made on your behalf. On the first day of your sailing, you will receive confirmation of your courtesy reservation in your stateroom, and you may then make any changes and additional reservations onboard by visiting the Hospitality Desk of any specialty restaurant.
  • I appreciate your understanding that lunch at Chops Grille on boarding day is only for guests who have purchased The Key. Complimentary lunch is generally available in the Windjammer Marketplace (buffet-style dining) on embarkation day, and there may be other venues open as well. Please do not hesitate to ask for assistance once you are onboard.
  • Beginning on the second day of your cruise, you may use your Dining Package for lunch or dinner at any specialty dining venues that are open. I encourage you to confirm the open hours for lunch, as not all venues are open for lunch every day. I trust you will enjoy the food at all of the restaurants you choose! However, if you have any concerns, I encourage you to let your waitstaff know. Although we do not typically allow changing from one venue to another on the same evening, there may be alternatives available to you.

 

So from what I  gather from their reply...

1. You are only allowed specialty lunch ( on days offered)  or dinner. Essentially you would have to choose which?  

2. It does not start till the evening of your arrival

3. You cannot hop from place to place, its one  choice only. ( please note: im not a piggy so I wont be stuffing my gut but I worried in the event I did not like something)

 

Wondering if anyone can speak to any of this when using the Unlimited dining plan?

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Linzym2020 said:

So from what I  gather from their reply...

1. You are only allowed specialty lunch ( on days offered)  or dinner. Essentially you would have to choose which?  

2. It does not start till the evening of your arrival

3. You cannot hop from place to place, its one  choice only. ( please note: im not a piggy so I wont be stuffing my gut but I worried in the event I did not like something)

 

Wondering if anyone can speak to any of this when using the Unlimited dining plan?

 

 

 

1. Lunch is included on Sea days, Dinner each night. On embarkation it depends on what specialty is open. If one is opened for Key guest you cannot go there for lunch. 

2. see 1

3. It's unlimited. you can hop to multiple restaurants each evening.

Edited by Tulsacoker
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13 minutes ago, Linzym2020 said:

 I am also so lost on this UDP. We got a great deal on Black Friday for $179 pp for unlimited on a 7 day symphony cruise on march 7th.

 

I was indeed so confused how this worked I emailed RC and this is what I wrote

  • .This is our first ever Royal Caribbean cruise. We purchased the unlimited dining package and we were wondering does the Unlimited dining start as soon as we walk onto the ship at arrival or does it only begin that evening? The reason why am asking is I noticed there is a lunch for key program members at chops Grill but I did not know if we were able to eat there with our unlimited dining package as we did not purchase the key program.
  • Also for unlimited dining I just want to understand that we are able to eat at specialty restaurants for lunch as well as dinner?
  • And lets  say we had dinner at Wonderland but we did not  like the food could we also go to another specialty dining restaurant on the same evening? ( should they be able to accommodate us)

this was the reply from RC....

 

  • I am happy to provide information about your Unlimited Dining Package! Your package will take effect beginning with dinner on the first night of your sailing. As you may know, a courtesy reservation will be made on your behalf. On the first day of your sailing, you will receive confirmation of your courtesy reservation in your stateroom, and you may then make any changes and additional reservations onboard by visiting the Hospitality Desk of any specialty restaurant.
  • I appreciate your understanding that lunch at Chops Grille on boarding day is only for guests who have purchased The Key. Complimentary lunch is generally available in the Windjammer Marketplace (buffet-style dining) on embarkation day, and there may be other venues open as well. Please do not hesitate to ask for assistance once you are onboard.
  • Beginning on the second day of your cruise, you may use your Dining Package for lunch or dinner at any specialty dining venues that are open. I encourage you to confirm the open hours for lunch, as not all venues are open for lunch every day. I trust you will enjoy the food at all of the restaurants you choose! However, if you have any concerns, I encourage you to let your waitstaff know. Although we do not typically allow changing from one venue to another on the same evening, there may be alternatives available to you.

 

So from what I  gather from their reply...

1. You are only allowed specialty lunch ( on days offered)  or dinner. Essentially you would have to choose which?  

2. It does not start till the evening of your arrival

3. You cannot hop from place to place, its one  choice only. ( please note: im not a piggy so I wont be stuffing my gut but I worried in the event I did not like something)

 

Wondering if anyone can speak to any of this when using the Unlimited dining plan?

 

 

 

Sadly the info you received directly from them in incorrect.  On sea days you can have BOTH lunch and dinner and most all ships are offering lunch on embarkation day as well. 

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