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KenCP

Ultimate Dining Package on embarkation day

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This is my first cruise cruise and this blog has been a wealth of information.

I have the ultimate dining package booked for the Mediterranean cruise this summer.  On sea days there is lunch in one of the specialty restaurants with the UDP. 

The question I have, is there lunch served on embarkation day in the specialty restaurant or do you have to have “The Key Pass” for lunch?

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I can only provide the experience that I have had.  We almost always purchase the UDP and so far, we have always been able to use it on embarkation day at Chops or Jamie's/Giovanni's, depending upon which restaurant is open on that day.  Traditionally, only 1 specialty restaurant had been open for embarkation but with the advent of The Key, most ships seem to be having both Chops and whatever Italian variety restaurant they have on that ship, open..

We've never been turned away BUT we will be doing our first non-Star Class cruise with the UDP next month on Freedom.  I really don't know what to expect !  Luckily we are in a full suite so I intend to ask the Concierge to make a reservation for us.  For those who do not have access to the Concierge, I fear it could be a problem.  I think it will just be a wait and see kind of thing.

Up until now we have always been able to eat at a specialty restaurant on embarkation day using our UDP.  That's really all of the intel I can offer !

BTW, welcome to the Boards !

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38 minutes ago, marti314 said:

Had the UDP on Allure two weeks ago and CHOPS & Giovannis refused to seat us (Party of 2) because they were FULL with all the KEY people boarding.

Was able to eat at Sabor but would have preferred giovannis.

Thanks marti314!

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We are back and had an amazing cruise! Brilliance was just delightful. That said, we were not able to use ultimate dining on embarkation day for lunch. Chops looked full and the manager who assisted us with all reservations and checked in on us all cruise long told us he could not seat us without the Key. I was bummed until the kummelweck hit my tastebuds and then I wasn’t too upset 😁

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33 minutes ago, pepperandchips said:

we were not able to use ultimate dining on embarkation day for lunch.

Hmmmm....I wonder if having a Suite Concierge make a reservation for lunch would work.  Guess I'll find out.  We'll be on Brilliance in NOV.

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Just now, WAAAYTOOO said:

Hmmmm....I wonder if having a Suite Concierge make a reservation for lunch would work.  Guess I'll find out.  We'll be on Brilliance in NOV.

I am speculating, which I’m not sure is really helpful, but I think he *could* have seated us had the situation merited it. I bet a gold sea pass would have gotten us seated even without a reservation. I also didn’t offer to pay out of pocket for it, but later thought I should have asked just for research purposes. Chops lunch on embarkation day was definitely available in my cruise planner for purchase so logic follows you’d be fine with a concierge reservation! We never did make it to chops for lunch so I guess we’ll need to book another cruise so that I can try that burger...

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15 hours ago, pepperandchips said:

We are back and had an amazing cruise! Brilliance was just delightful. That said, we were not able to use ultimate dining on embarkation day for lunch. Chops looked full and the manager who assisted us with all reservations and checked in on us all cruise long told us he could not seat us without the Key. I was bummed until the kummelweck hit my tastebuds and then I wasn’t too upset 😁

Thanks @pepperandchips !  I went ahead and booked The Key.  I was going to get the VOOM package, then I seen that I have 2 tender ports as well,so I thought it was worth the extra few dollars to skip a few lines too.

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