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First Time sailing RCC, Coastal Kitchen or MDR


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Thank you so much for your feedback, have only sailed Disney previous but my daughter (13) wanted to experience another line (okay adults also) Friends recommended RC Harmony & we booked the week of Thanksgiving 2019. We booked the last suite on deck 11 and my research provided Coastal Kitchen. We are a quiet little family of 3 and received the late MDR (we were late booking) & prefer to eat much earlier, the main time. Is the MDR menu also available in the Coastal Kitchen? What would you prefer, I have read guests make CK reservations all week. Are we missing anything by skipping the MDR? Also, since we have access to the concierge lounge do we need to purchase the beverage package, we don't drink alcohol usually just bottled water and ice tea. Thank you all!

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Iced tea is free all day everywhere.  Bottled water costs, but you can bring up to 12 bottles (1/2 ltr) in your carry on.  The ships water is fine & you can get it anywhere, just bring a reusable bottle with you.

We enjoyed Coastal Kitchen on Anthem this past January -- smaller room, you're seated by yourselves (if you're only 3, they may put you at a larger table with other people unless you request otherwise).  We preferred the food & service in Coastal kitchen, although we could only use it for dinner (Junior Suite), but that was also because we had my time dining, & didn't care for switching waiters every night. The menu is different in CK from, but very good.   If you can, I'd go to CK instead.  We ended up with the same waiter every night we were there, so it's like being in the MDR in that sense , just a smaller setting.

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Welcome to the forum @Neesa. I have not been to CK (haven't been in a suite so no access) and am fine with the MDR). But I would venture to say that at least two of the veteran posters here, @Lovetocruise2002 and @JLMoran would both say that if you can go to CK, don't even think about not taking advantage of it. Both have said the food and service there is fabulous.

Happy sailing.

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Concur.  When I have CK access I try to eat every meal there. 

The catch can be on some ships a Junior Suite (Sea Class) doesn't have guaranteed access to the best times and for dinner only.  Full suites, Grand Suite and higher (Sky and Star Class) have better access to times and all day access (breakfast, lunch and dinner).  So CK access can vary depending on suite class.  

In my opinion, CK is better than MDR and in some cases equal to or better than some speciality dining.  

#TeamCK

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With access to the Suite Lounge I'm assuming you are Sky or Star Class suite.

Beer and wine is available from 11am to 11pm but it's a limited menu.  Evenings from 5pm to 8:30pm there is a cocktail happy hour with well drinks included.  Times can vary slightly.  

I have always purchased the Deluxe Beverage Package when in a loft or grand suite simply because I don't have to visit the suite lounge on deck 17 if I feel like a drink and with the DX I can choose from a broader range of beers, wines and alcohol.   If I'm on the pool deck and I feel like a drink I don't want to go to deck 17.  If I want a frozen drink by the pool those aren't available in the suite lounge.  If I'm hanging out on the suite sun deck with it's own bar, that isn't included unless you have the DX package (suite lounge and suite sun deck are separate and only the suite lounge has the complimentary bar).  I like the suite sun deck, it's quiet, lots of chairs and often is there no wait for a drink.  

If I'm at a show or in the comedy club and want a drink, the DX package works.  When at their private destinations (CocoCay or Labadee) the DX package works off the ship.  So many reasons to get the DX even if you get complimentary drinks in the deck 17 suite lounge. 

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Hi @Neesa, welcome to the forums!

Like @MaryCS62, I was in a Junior Suite on Anthem and had access to Coastal Kitchen only for dinner. It sounds like you're in a full suite, so you'll have access at all meals (but only dinner requires reservations).

As the others here have noted, it really is a fantastic dining venue, and the food is definitely better than the main dining room. I'm not knocking the MDR, I found the food there as good as any regular sit-down restaurant I've been to. But where the MDR is equivalent to a $$-level restaurant, CK is more like a $$$- or even $$$$-level restaurant. And yes, you can still get items from the MDR menu while dining there if you want, although the selection is limited to what is on the first page of the CK menu each night under "Classics". I would regularly order my beloved Escargots a la Bourginonne with dinner every night, which comes from that menu, along with an appetizer and entree from the CK-only menu.

Make your reservations now in the cruise planner so you get the early dining time you prefer. If you find that you can't use the online reservation system (several here, including folks staying in full suites, have reported problems getting that to work), just go to the CK desk when you board the ship, and make your reservations at that time.

Pinging @Lovetocruise2002, who has stayed in full suites with CK access multiple times and I believe has a very positive view of their breakfast as well. I want to say that I've heard that lunch is CK's only real weak spot, but will let her confirm.

Since you said you don't usually drink alcohol, the only beverage package I'd say to consider is the Refreshment Package, and then only if you expect to be buying things like mocktails / virgin drinks, espresso-based coffee beverages, bottled water, and fresh-squeezed OJ regularly. If you think you'd only buy one or two of each of those things over the course of your trip, skip the package and just charge it to your Sea Pass card as you go. For sure, any cocktails or wine/beer you decide to have on a special occasion kind of meal you can buy a la carte and come out well ahead versus buying the Deluxe Beverage Package.

Hope this helps!

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CK hands down.  MDR is no comparison whatsoever!  CK even rivals specialty dining.  The menu, quality of food, service and views are far superior.  Lunch is the weak spot but even that is good.  The only reason why I consider it weak spot is because they only rotate two menus for lunch.  Dinner is rotated nightly on a 7 night cruise.

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16 minutes ago, Neesa said:

So thankful to all! I really appreciate the warm welcome also. You all are amazing, I feel much better knowing I will be making an educated decision based on fellow cruisers, not industry commercial people.  All the best to you all, @Neesa:10_wink:

Well said Neesa.😉

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  • 3 months later...
On 6/27/2019 at 3:35 PM, Neesa said:

Thank you for your response. I really appreciate your taking the time.  I really want to make sure I navigate this RCC sailing in the best possible way.  Have a great rest of your day! 


We LOVE Coastal Kitchen, including our 8yo son.  It’s so much better than the MDR.   I may have missed it, but I don’t think anybody mentioned that you need reservations for dinner in CK.  About a week before your sail date, you’ll receive an email from your concierge to introduce themselves and see if you need anything.  Reply to that email and ask them to make your nightly reservations for whatever different times you’d like to eat in the Coastal Kitchen each night and they’ll do it for you.  I’ve never seen the CK available to make the reservations on your own in the cruise planner.

 

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