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To UDP or not to UDP?


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I'm on a week-long Alaska cruise on Ovation in September with my father, and I am struggling mightily with whether or not to get the Unlimited Dining Plan.  I'm paying for the trip for both of us, so trying to balance having a fabulous vacation with costs.   What is most important, to me, is what will make my dad happy.  He loves food, but doesn't necessarily care about "fancy" food.  He's perfectly happy with Olive Garden/Applebee's on land (I'm a bit more of a foodie, but I'm cheap - so I've never tried any of the specialty restaurants on prior Royal cruises and I don't have a good frame of reference for making this decision.)  

Questions: Does anyone know if Vintages, Ocean & Amber, and/or Fish and Ships are included with the UBP?  I get free drinks in the casino and usually carry a glass of wine with me into dinner in the MDR - is that acceptable in the specialty restaurants?  (I'm sure I'll want to try some specialty beverages, but sometimes I'll just want wine.) 

 I'm open to any thoughts.  Worth it?  Not worth it?  Here's what I'm thinking so far - 

Pros:

  • Not having to worry about costs - prepaid upfront.
  • Sushi!  Dad loves sushi.  Could theoretically get sushi early and then have a late dinner at another specialty restaurant on some nights.
  • Variety.  I find that MDR tends to get a bit repetitive.
  • Lunch on sea days.  On my last cruise, I found the MDR lunches particularly unimpressive, so it would be nice to have other options

Cons:

  • Cost.  ~$350 (for two) could be used for some pretty epic shore excursions instead.
  • Reservations.  I currently have MTD/Solarium reservations for every night at preferred times.  I'm not sure how hard it would be to get reservations for specialty dining for decent times with the UDP package. 

Basically, any thoughts you all have would be greatly appreciated. I know this is very much a YMMV thing, but would love to hear what folks think.  I've been reading lots of reviews and posts and have gone back and forth so many times now that it's all just confused in my head.  

Thanks in advance!

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Honestly, I'd stick with your current plan. You can still take him for sushi one or two nights! Or at lunch on an at-sea day. My mom enjoys the MDR simply because the waitstaff get to know her and treat her so well.

Shore excursions in Alaska run on the expensive side, but are worth it. I'd spend my money there.

And I say this as a definite foodie myself!

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UDP all the way. The additional cost is really not bad at all. 2 person is cheaper than 1 all-you-can-drink pkg!

The whole experience is completely elevated, it is going to a gourmet restaurant every night, with elevated quality of food, and elevated hospitality.

Not that MDR is no good or bad, the specialty restaurants are just a tad better.

 

UDP all the way. The additional cost is really not bad at all. 2 person is cheaper than 1 all-you-can-drink pkg!

The whole experience is completely elevated, it is going to a gourmet restaurant every night, with elevated quality of food, and elevated hospitality.

Not that MDR is no good or bad, the specialty restaurants are just a tad better.

 

 

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I am getting on LOS this Sunday.

Originally, I purchased the 3 night package.....  that means I can go to specialty restaurants 3 times..... now, I refunded it and ordered the UDP.... that will allow me to go to specialty restaurants a minimum of 10 meals.... plus you can do more than 1 per night.... and per lunch.... 

I much rather to do that than just do it exactly 3 times... 

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According to the new “rules” of the Unlimited Dining Package, there is no maximum number of times that you can eat in any specialty restaurant(s).  As long as they can accommodate your party, either by walk-in or reservation, you can eat.

We had the UDP on our  NAV B2B for the pas 7 days and we have never been turned away.  We ate lunch at Izumi on both days (lunch) that we were in port in Nassau.  We had lunch at Playmakers, we had dinner every night at one of the specialties and we had lunch again at Izumi today (sea day).

Because we were overly concerned with ensuring we had reservations, we had the Suite Concierge make reservations for us for the first half of the B2B but it became obvious, as time went by, that reservations really weren’t necessary. Any number of times, we spontaneously changed our minds about when and where to eat and we were always accommodated.  The one and only time we were not permitted to have our choice was on embarkation day.  We wanted to eat at Chops and Chops was being held exclusively for Key members on embarkation day. They sat us at Jamie’s.  Other than that, anywhere, anytime so long as the venue was open and there was availability.  This was on NAV and I suspect that each ship will have its own “rules”.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just finished my week on LOS.....  I hit 2 specialty restaurants per night almost everyday.... right at 5 or 530 in one then 830 in another....

Almost get bored with their menu.... starting to ask them to change things up (which they did)...

Sabor is good for margarita runs.

Unfortunately, MDR really sucks (on RCCL as compare to HAL). I was impressed by Windjammer buffet tho.

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We're going on Navigator for a 3-Night Cruise in August.  $69 per person for the UDP is the current price and we're seriously considering it.  We like the MDR, but have never really tried the specialties (except for Hooked for Dinner and Jamie's for lunch on Symphony last December)...  Seems like having the option to almost "walk-in" to any/all of the restaurants for Lunch and Dinner is a pretty good deal.  We already bought the Deluxe Drink package too...  Do they pre-book you for the first night's meal automatically, or is there a choice?  Do you get your money's worth? Anybody have any thoughts (other than the fact that we'll gain at least 25 lbs in 3 days!!!)  🙂 ?  Thanks!

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1 hour ago, Snotarni said:

We're going on Navigator for a 3-Night Cruise in August.  $69 per person for the UDP is the current price and we're seriously considering it.  We like the MDR, but have never really tried the specialties (except for Hooked for Dinner and Jamie's for lunch on Symphony last December)...  Seems like having the option to almost "walk-in" to any/all of the restaurants for Lunch and Dinner is a pretty good deal.  We already bought the Deluxe Drink package too...  Do they pre-book you for the first night's meal automatically, or is there a choice?  Do you get your money's worth? Anybody have any thoughts (other than the fact that we'll gain at least 25 lbs in 3 days!!!)  🙂 ?  Thanks!

You pick your time and they will book the restaurant for the first night.  Once you get onboard you can just go to the dining kiosk or any of the restaurants and they should be able to change your time and restaurant if you would like.  I think it's a good way to try everything and one of the big benefits is that it will cover food at Playmakers on Navigator as well which is a nice alternative to pizza in those inbetween meals times.

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6 hours ago, Snotarni said:

We're going on Navigator for a 3-Night Cruise in August.  $69 per person for the UDP is the current price and we're seriously considering it.

We just did the 3 night UDP for $69 on NAV and I say it is an excellent bargain.  We loved Hooked but even without Hooked there are just a lot of options on NAV. Also, don’t forget to check out Izumi for lunch on the day you are in Nassau.  They do not advertise that they are open for lunch (as it’s not a sea day) but chances are it will be open. It was open for lunch on both of our Nassau days on our recent B2B.

On embarkation day, they will let you have lunch at Jamie’s but unfortunately, not at Chops.  They save Chops exclusively for The Key.  Not even our Suites Concierge could help us get into Chops on NAV. That’s the first time we’ve failed to get into Chops on embarkation day.  But Jamies was a reasonable back-up.

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