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First RC cruise questions for you RC veterans:

1)Do travel agencies give any discount over RC's online site?

2)What's the better option for cabins?  3rd deck? 4th deck?  Midship?  Front of Ship?  What's the volume of motor, etc. if you compared areas?

3)What's the best and cheapest excursion for a 5 nighter to Mexico out of Galveston?

4)We don't drink alcohol, mainly water, but should we splurge for the sodas/teas drink deals prior to launching?  Or pay as we go?

5)Can we change our booking if something comes up and dates need to change?  If so, what's that cost?

6)Is gratuity added into the overall cost?  Is there an unwritten code about tipping further?  If so, how much?

7)Enchantment of the Seas is the boat we will use, what are the best food places that are already included?  Best meals, i.e. pastas, Mexican, pizza, etc.?

 

Basically, any help you could give me would benefit our selections, and thanks in advance!

 

mando6599

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Just now, coneyraven said:

In regards to #5 --- did you book refundable or non-refundable?  And --- when is your sail date?  Both of those could determine if there is a fee to change ships or cruise dates.

I've not booked anything as of today.  We are looking at mid-July 2019 out of Galveston.  Is there an option to book refundable or non-refundable when booking?

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Just now, mando6599 said:

I've not booked anything as of today.  We are looking at mid-July 2019 out of Galveston.  Is there an option to book refundable or non-refundable when booking?

Yes --- they may not offer it, so you may need to ask ...... they'll be able to give you the prices for both so you can compare.  One thing that's really nice is that if the price goes down, you can always re-book, provided, you have not passed your final payment date (your travel agent will be able to let you know that date, but generally, it's about 90 days before the cruise.)

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2) If you fear seasickness, then go low like coneyraven said. On my first cruise I loved being right in the center, not too high, not too low, not too forward, and not too back. The result was that everything was not too far away. This was especially important when I didn't want to wait for the elevator - most places were 3 decks or less away.

4) You'll have to drink several per day for the package to be worthwhile. Compare the prices and do the math. For people who want an occasional splurge, a la carte is almost always cheaper. This is true regardless of which package you're thinking about (soda, liquor, etc).

6) Gratuity is not included in the prices you see. It is added on to your bill, and the result is that you don't have to tip anyone individually. But keep on reading, and you'll see recommendations about who should maybe get an additional tip.

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Hi @mando6599, welcome to the Royal Caribbean Blog forums! I can't answer all of those as I haven't yet sailed the western Caribbean or Enchantment, but I'll help with what I can.

Just now, mando6599 said:

1)Do travel agencies give any discount over RC's online site?

Most do not, as it's a requirement of Royal (and basically every cruise line). However, some agents will choose to share a portion of their commission with you in the form of reduced price, on-board credit (OBC), or other "perks".

Many here work with agents from MEI Travel, which is a sponsor of the site. While they do not generally give any discounts or other perks, many here (myself included) can vouch for the service they offer in terms of watching the sales and repricing your cruise as the promotions change over time, answering questions you may have, etc. And they have occasionally had specials where you will get gratuities covered. Whether you can expect the same level of service from an agent who gives a lot of their commission as perks is something I can't answer, but anecdotally it seems that with the reduced commissions they make off of you comes some level of reduced service.

4 minutes ago, mando6599 said:

2)What's the better option for cabins?  3rd deck? 4th deck?  Midship?  Front of Ship?  What's the volume of motor, etc. if you compared areas?

Will reiterate what @coneyraven said -- midship and lower / central decks equals less movement. Not coincidentally, these are also considered better areas when pricing is figured out, so cabin categories get better (and prices go up) the higher and more mid-ship you're located.

As far as noise levels go, the rule of thumb here is pick a room with cabins on the decks above and below. The worst areas to pick are under the pool deck, under or above any restaurant, or above the night club. You can find maps of all decks on a given ship at cruisedeckplans.com.

8 minutes ago, mando6599 said:

4)We don't drink alcohol, mainly water, but should we splurge for the sodas/teas drink deals prior to launching?  Or pay as we go?

If you don't even drink a lot of soda, I'd just buy a la carte rather than getting a package. The soda package only covers fountain soda, not soda in cans, and the cheapest you'll find the non-alcoholic package that covers specialty coffee and teas is $18 per person, per night.

10 minutes ago, mando6599 said:

5)Can we change our booking if something comes up and dates need to change?  If so, what's that cost?

1 minute ago, mando6599 said:

I've not booked anything as of today.  We are looking at mid-July 2019 out of Galveston.  Is there an option to book refundable or non-refundable when booking?

If you potentially need to change the date, you definitely need to book with a refundable deposit. Booking non-refundable locks you in to the specific sailing on that specific date, and changing to another date will incur a penalty of $200 per person.

55 minutes ago, mando6599 said:

6)Is gratuity added into the overall cost?  Is there an unwritten code about tipping further?  If so, how much?

As @Keeves indicated, gratuity is not part of the original booking cost. You have the option to pre-pay it before sail date and lock in the rate, or pay it on board and chance the rates going up before you sail.

Many here give an additional tip to their cabin steward and waiter / assistant waiter. Many also give small ($1 or $2) cash tips to bartenders on top of the 18% gratuity already added on to each beverage, as it can lead to better service if you mostly frequent one bar and get to know the staff there. Either is totally optional, and you can make the call at the end of your trip before you leave the ship.

58 minutes ago, mando6599 said:

7)Enchantment of the Seas is the boat ship we will use

Sorry, @monorailmedic possessed me for a moment there... 😁

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16 hours ago, mando6599 said:

Do travel agencies give any discount over RC's online site?

Generally not. Unless they have group space that is at a reduced rate, it's same price as RC.

16 hours ago, mando6599 said:

What's the better option for cabins?  3rd deck? 4th deck?  Midship?  Front of Ship?  What's the volume of motor, etc. if you compared areas?

Whichever is cheapest. Location of ship is not a big deal in my opinion.

If price is same, I'd pick midship and/or near an elevator bank

16 hours ago, mando6599 said:

What's the best and cheapest excursion for a 5 nighter to Mexico out of Galveston?

Paradise Beach: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2018/07/25/excursion-focus-paradise-beach-cozumel

16 hours ago, mando6599 said:

We don't drink alcohol, mainly water, but should we splurge for the sodas/teas drink deals prior to launching?  Or pay as we go?

Pay as you go

16 hours ago, mando6599 said:

Can we change our booking if something comes up and dates need to change?  If so, what's that cost?

If you book refundable cruise fare and you make the change before final payment date (90 days prior to sailing), you can change at no penalty. After that, you incur a penalty to change. The exact penalty depends when you make the change after final payment date.

16 hours ago, mando6599 said:

)Is gratuity added into the overall cost?  Is there an unwritten code about tipping further?  If so, how much?

Yes an automatic gratuity is added. You can pre-pay it or have it added to your onboard account every day of the cruise.  You don't need to tip beyond that unless you feel its warranted.

16 hours ago, mando6599 said:

Enchantment of the Seas is the boat we will use, what are the best food places that are already included?  Best meals, i.e. pastas, Mexican, pizza, etc.?

Windjammer, Main dining room, Cafe Latte Tudes. You won't go hungry.

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Good advice here. I will say that on the cruises I've been on (not RC), I've done with and without the drink package. If I didn't drink alcohol and seldom drank soda, I wouldn't spend the money. I did get the package because on RC it includes a bit more than on Norwegian, but even then, not sure if we'll do it again.

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You have received a lot of great advice already but I'll add 2 more comments.

1.  If you drink a lot of water, bring your own refillable container.  You can use a plastic cup and fill it at many water stations.  The ship water tastes fine to me.

2.  Look at trip insurance with a cancel for any reason clause if you think there is a chance you may not be able to go after final payment date (90 days prior to cruise).

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