Ok, I've tried to do my homework. I've read through the many postings and blogs, but I still have few questions. I'm traveling solo with my two daughters on our very first cruise (Oasis on August 12th). I left another question on the tween thread, but my other questions are more general:
1) We have the 5:30 dining time in the MDR - I've taken this to mean that we have a standing dinner reservation at that time. But, we also signed up for the ultimate dining package. Do we have to notify someone if we are not dining in the MDR? Do we just not show up (which doesn't seem right)??? I just don't have a sense for the interplay of these two dining options.
2) We want to experience both the MDR and the specialty restaurants. I got a really good deal on the ultimate dining package, so I bought that package so that we have options. Are there particular days where the MDR is a must? My girls are 12 and 9, are there specialty restaurants that we should avoid? My kids are adventurous eaters and fairly well behaved. I ask this less from the perspective of what my kids will like (they'd eat sushi every meal if they could) and more as a courtesy for other diners who may want to dine in a kid free zone (or maybe that isn't an issue?), even if they are well behaved kids.
3) The fine print on the dining package says that you also get 20% off on the culinary activities. I booked the cupcake class for us. I assume that the 20% will be added later (along with the 50% discount from the adult price I paid on my kids' dining packages)? And this will be in the form of an OBC or a refund to my card?
4) We reserved a Grand Suite and my research tells me that at some point the concierge will reach out to me...to introduce themselves? Or is this a contact point that can be used to arrange additional reservations (like other specialty restaurants and Question #5 below)?
5) I've seen advice to use Labadee as a beach day and I'm going to take that advice. I was going to reserve a cabana at Barefoot Beach. Initially it showed up in the Cruise Planner as needing to be reserved once on ship. Not it isn't showing up at all. Does that mean they've all been booked? If not, see Question #4. And if I can still reserve, is the over the water one worth the extra cost? If I can't reserve one there, should I reserve at another beach or still spend the day at BB, but without the cabana?
6) I never used the $100 OBC that I got with my booking. In hindsight, I regret that because there are no other activities/packages that I want (other than the cabana). Will I still be able to use that? What can I use it for? Gratuities? The cabana?
7) I loved someone's advice re bringing $100 in singles for additional gratuities. How would you breakdown the allocation of these (e.g., $W/drink; $X/meal; $Y/day to housekeeper; $Z/XX to concierge, etc.)?
I'm sure that someone has asked these questions before and I'm sorry for being repetitive if so. I just couldn't find them. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with someone who is perhaps to anal retentive for her own good! My goal is to go on vacation and not have to worry about or figure out a single thing!
Thank you so much!!!