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The Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean's Unlimited Dining Package

21 Nov 2022
Jenna DeLaurentis

There’s no denying that there is plenty of unlimited, complimentary food on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Many guests, however, prefer spending extra to dine at Royal Caribbean’s specialty restaurants, and one of the best ways to do this is by purchasing an Unlimited Dining Package.

With Royal Caribbean’s Unlimited Dining Package, you can dine at specialty restaurants for brunch, lunch, and dinner every day of the cruise. A dining package is almost always a more economical option than purchasing restaurant reservations individually, making it a nice value for those hoping for a more upscale dining experience.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Royal Caribbean’s Unlimited Dining Package.

How much does the Unlimited Dining Package cost?

The Unlimited Dining Package can vary per sailing, but here are a few sample prices you can expect for an Unlimited Dining Package (no gratuity added):

  • 3-night cruise: $115 per guest
  • 4-night cruise: $150 per guest
  • 7-night cruise: $260 per guest

An 18% gratuity will be added to the total cost of the Unlimited Dining Package upon checkout.

How and when should I book the Unlimited Dining Package?

The Unlimited Dining Package can be booked prior to your cruise via Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner website. Royal Caribbean may also sell dining packages on embarkation day once you board the ship if they have availability.

If you want to book an Unlimited Dining Package for your cruise, however, it’s best to do so as soon as possible.

It’s never a good idea to wait to book a dining package hoping the price will drop. Royal Caribbean allows guests to cancel and rebook any pre-cruise purchases on the Cruise Planner website up to 48 hours before their cruise.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner site

Therefore, if you purchase a dining package for $200 and later see the price dropped to $150, you can cancel and rebook the package at the lower cost with no penalties.

À la carte vs cover charge restaurants

There are two types of specialty restaurants: those with a cover charge and those with à la carte options. With an Unlimited Dining Package, you won’t have to worry about paying a cover charge for each restaurant individually, as everything is included in the cost of the dining package.

Cover charge restaurants usually charge between $35 and $60 for dinner per person. Therefore, an Unlimited Dining Package is cheaper than paying for all cover charge restaurants individually if you plan to enjoy several meals during the cruise.

Cover charge restaurants

Cover charge restaurants include an all-you-can-eat meal for one set cost. For these restaurants, you can choose as many appetizers, main courses, and desserts as you’d like.

With a dining package, you won’t have to consider the individual cost of each item when dining at a cover charge restaurant.

Cover charge restaurants include:

  • Jamie’s Italian
  • Giovanni’s Table
  • Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen
  • Chops Grille
  • The Mason Jar
  • Wonderland
  • Izumi Hibachi/Teppanyaki
  • 150 Central Park
  • Hooked Seafood
  • Samba Grill
  • Sabor
  • Johnny Rockets (sit-down location)
  • Chef’s Table

À la carte restaurants

À la carte restaurants, on the other hand, put a price on each menu item. Instead of offering one set price per meal, you’ll have to pay for each individual item.

How does this work with a dining package? Depending on the restaurant, you’ll receive either $20 or $35 in food credit. You can put this credit toward appetizers, main courses, or desserts.

With the exception of Izumi Sushi, you can only dine at à la carte restaurants once per day. You cannot break up the $20 food credit in multiple trips to the restaurant on the same day.

À la carte restaurants include:

  • Portside BBQ
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade
  • Izumi Sushi
  • Johnny Rockets Express
  • Fish & Ships

Are there any limitations with the Unlimited Dining Package?

The Unlimited Dining Package comes with a few basic rules that you should know about before your cruise:

  • Guests with a dining package must wait to make reservations at specialty restaurants until they board the ship
  • One reservation must be used on the first or second night of the sailing
  • For restaurants with à la carte pricing, you receive a $20 credit which can only be used once a day
  • Izumi Hibachi has a $15 surcharge on top of the dining package, which will be charged onboard
  • Certain venues are excluded from dining packages (Chef’s Table, Vintages, etc.)
  • You’ll receive a discount of 40% off bottles of wine under $100 and 20% off bottles above $100 while dining in specialty restaurants

Which restaurants are NOT included in the Unlimited Dining Package?

Special dining experiences like Chef’s Table, wine pairing dinners, and the Mystery Dinner Theater are excluded from the Unlimited Dining Package.

Tapas and small bites offered at venues like Vintages and The Bamboo Room are also not included in a dining package. These small bites will be priced à la carte and charged to your onboard account.

For ships with Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, the dining package covers food when dining at the Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen restaurant. However, it does not include food ordered from the Giovanni’s Wine Bar menu.

Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s, La Patisserie, and Sugar Beach are also not included with the Unlimited Dining Package.

How can I make dining reservations with the Unlimited Dining Package?

If you purchase a dining package, you must wait until you board the ship on embarkation day to make reservations. We recommend that you do this as soon as possible once onboard to ensure you can book the restaurants and times that work best for you.

Once onboard, head to any specialty restaurant to make reservations for the duration of your cruise. You do not have to visit each restaurant individually. If you visit Chops Grille, for example, you can make reservations for all other restaurants at the same time.

The only exception to this rule is with Izumi Hibachi. If you plan to dine at Izumi Hibachi during your cruise, reservations must be made at the restaurant itself. Therefore, we recommend making all dining reservations at Izumi Hibachi and heading to the restaurant right after boarding.

When can I dine at specialty restaurants?

You can dine at specialty restaurants for breakfast (brunch), lunch, and dinner. All specialty restaurants are open for dinner each day, whereas the availability of brunch and lunch can differ by restaurant and ship.

The Mason Jar–Royal Caribbean’s southern-inspired restaurant–is only open for brunch on sea days, for example, and does not offer lunch. 150 Central Park and Wonderland, on the other hand, are only open for dinner.

Related: The Mason Jar Southern food restaurant review on Wonder of the Seas

Most specialty restaurants that offer lunch will be open for lunch on sea days and select port days.

Should I purchase an Unlimited Dining Package for my kids?

If you’re sailing with children under 12 and plan to dine at specialty restaurants, you don’t necessarily need to book a dining package for them.

Children 5 and under dine at specialty restaurants for free, and children aged 6-12 can be added to a dining reservation for only $10 per child.

If you do want to purchase a dining package for kids, though, you’ll find it’s offered at a much lower price than for adults. A 7-night Unlimited Dining Package, for example, may be priced at $260 per adult and only $77 per child.

Pros & Cons of the Unlimited Dining Package

If you’re trying to determine whether or not the Unlimited Dining Package is worth it on Royal Caribbean, it’s helpful to take a look at the pros and cons of this package before booking.

Check out our YouTube video on the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel to learn more about the pros and cons of a Royal Caribbean Unlimited Dining Package:

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Want to learn more about dining on a Royal Caribbean cruise? Here are some helpful tips:

Jenna DeLaurentis enjoys exploring new ports of call around the world on a cruise ship, learning about new cultures, discovering beautiful landscapes, and trying diverse cuisine. She loves to get active while at port, whether cycling through mountains in the Caribbean or scuba diving under the sea.

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