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Somewhat complicated dining question:


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This may sound odd, but I need some help figuring it out.  Backgound:  Radiance of the Seas - May 2021 - Alaska - 9 days Vancouver and return.  Our first cruise - supposed to be this year to celebrate 50 years of wedded bliss... or tolerance in her case 😇

Question:  My wife and I are in our 70s (healthy but older....!).  We've realized that eating is best for us relatively early (4 - 5 PM).  I've purchased the UDP because we'd like some things on those menus..  Neither of us eat a lot and we are certainly NOT foodies. It seems that we may be able to eat in the MDR at earlier times and we could enjoy most of that fare.  Neither of us would enjoy eating late.  We could enjoy the fancier fare during sea days.  I'm not sure we want to tolerate late night dining to get the nicer meals - unless most of you respond to suck it up.

Wattawedo?  Advice from all younz wise folk?  Keep the UDP and suck it up?  Bag the UDP and do the several meal version - Chops, plus 2 / 3?  Buy potato chips and drink beer?

Seriously, I'd appreciate any reflections.

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We are also early diners and relatively light eaters.  We always purchase the UDP.  Unless 5:30 - 6:00 is too late for you (most specialty restaurants begin serving at 5:30 or 6:00), the UDP will work fine.  My only concern for you would be the possibility that the repetitiveness of the menus at the somewhat limited choice of specialty restaurants on Radiance could be an issue on a 9 night itin.

The nice thing about the UDP is that it includes both dinners and lunches whenever the specialties are open for lunch (usually on sea days).  Also, realizing that on an Alaska itin you are often off the ship for lunchtime, it’s just a matter of what is most convenient for you.

Here’s what I would recommend. If they are offering a 5 night dining plan, I recommend that.  That would give you plenty of opportunities to utilize the specialties but also give you the flexibility to make alternate arrangements for some nights.  Just remember that only the UDP offers the option of complementary lunches. Between the Main Dining Room, the Windjammer and other options around the ship, you will not go hungry on nights that you do not have specialty reservations.

If they are only offering a 3 night dining package, I would get the UDP.  It’s very nice to be able to board the ship and go to Chops for lunch on boarding day.  I will note, however, that with the COVID restrictions (whatever they may turn out to be), lunch on boarding day at Chops may no longer be an option.  😔😔

Enjoy your first cruise !  You’ve picked a wonderful way to start out !

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5 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

We are also early diners and relatively light eaters.  We always purchase the UDP.  Unless 5:30 - 6:00 is too late for you (most specialty restaurants begin serving at 5:30 or 6:00), the UDP will work fine.  My only concern for you would be the possibility that the repetitiveness of the menus at the somewhat limited choice of specialty restaurants on Radiance could be an issue on a 9 night itin.

The nice thing about the UDP is that it includes both dinners and lunches whenever the specialties are open for lunch (usually on sea days).  Also, realizing that on an Alaska itin you are often off the ship for lunchtime, it’s just a matter of what is most convenient for you.

Here’s what I would recommend. If they are offering a 5 night dining plan, I recommend that.  That would give you plenty of opportunities to utilize the specialties but also give you the flexibility to make alternate arrangements for some nights.  Just remember that only the UDP offers the option of complementary lunches. Between the Main Dining Room, the Windjammer and other options around the ship, you will not go hungry on nights that you do not have specialty reservations.

If they are only offering a 3 night dining package, I would get the UDP.  It’s very nice to be able to board the ship and go to Chops for lunch on boarding day.  I will note, however, that with the COVID restrictions (whatever they may turn out to be), lunch on boarding day at Chops may no longer be an option.  😔😔

Enjoy your first cruise !  You’ve picked a wonderful way to start out !

WAAATOOO, again you have provided some sage advice to this neophyte.  I've been glued to the computer trying to learn the ins and outs, but sometimes just a simple explanation makes it come clearer.  I don't think the 5 night plan is an option (I'll have to check - and Black Friday is coming) so it looks like we just do the earliest seating possible (I do hope that it's available) and enjoy the sea days - there are 3 full ones.  Thanks again!

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7 minutes ago, Eaglelover said:

WAAATOOO, again you have provided some sage advice to this neophyte.  I've been glued to the computer trying to learn the ins and outs, but sometimes just a simple explanation makes it come clearer.  I don't think the 5 night plan is an option (I'll have to check - and Black Friday is coming) so it looks like we just do the earliest seating possible (I do hope that it's available) and enjoy the sea days - there are 3 full ones.  Thanks again!

You're so welcome and of course, @HeWhoWaits is correct.  I forgot the most important part of your post.  Congratulations on 50 years together !!

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1 hour ago, HeWhoWaits said:

@WAAAYTOOOanswered your questions quite well, but she forgot the most important part!

Congratulations on 50 years! You must be doing something right if she's put up with you that long. 😉

HeWhoWaits, thanks for the congrats.  She lived through 20 + moves (Army, retired) so it was more her patience than me doing something right!🎖️

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Here's another thought.  Where are you from?  If you live on the east coast of the US, your normal 4-5PM dining time will be 4 hours earlier at 12-1PM.  In this case, you're going to have to eat at a different dinner time than normal anyway so you might as well temporarily adjust your eating (and sleeping) schedule to whatever the local clocks say.  Days are also going to be much longer in Alaska in May so you will still be eating well before sunset if that matters to you.

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8 minutes ago, HeWhoWaits said:

Thank you both for your service.

We, more than once, commented that the Navy folks had all the luck - cruising all the time... while she waited at home and I rode around in vehicles that were not particularly water-friendly!  I (we) appreciate the many folks who affirm our crazy life.  Many have served - we'll remember that over the next several days.  There were a lot who were in harms way more often than I.  I give thanks for all of them - many of whom post to this blog.🇺🇸

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9 minutes ago, Atlantix2000 said:

Here's another thought.  Where are you from?  If you live on the east coast of the US, your normal 4-5PM dining time will be 4 hours earlier at 12-1PM.  In this case, you're going to have to eat at a different dinner time than normal anyway so you might as well temporarily adjust your eating (and sleeping) schedule to whatever the local clocks say.  Days are also going to be much longer in Alaska in May so you will still be eating well before sunset if that matters to you.

Atlantix2000, in a blinding flash of the obvious, I see your light!!  We're central time so that means it's already 2 - 3 hours earlier.....   Maybe this isn't the issue that I thought it may be. Of course the whole body schedule is messed up anyhow.  Now, if I can just get the Captain and crew "onboard" (so to speak) with my time needs!

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18 hours ago, Eaglelover said:

Buy potato chips and drink beer?

Just do this! In fact, forget the chips!

Not much to add accept personally, our eating habits are different on a cruise ship. At home, at best, breakfast is a yogurt (if anything at all), lunch isn't much bigger. However, when cruising, at breakfast 1 I start to stress about breakfast 2 let alone lunch 1. So, add in your vacation eating habits.

I too thank you for your service & congratulate you both on 50 years! We will only be 5 years in September (although dating way longer than the average couple) and she's already sick of me :).

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On 11/6/2020 at 3:50 PM, JLMoran said:

So when you board a ship, you get affected by the same magic spell as me? You know, the one that turns you into a hobbit? 😉

image.png.296a4b86af74ed7784a06e52e44f77b4.png

JLMoran, I was thinking about your post and I wondered if each of those required a pre-meal cocktail?  Bloody Mary, Mamosa, Beer, Gin and Tonic, Beer, Scotch and Soda.... you know the drill.  I think I know the evening schedule.  All of a sudden the DBP looks valuable.🤔

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4 hours ago, MAC said:

Also consider that fact that its light a lot longer in July up North.  You may be staying up longer to digest that later than normal dinner hour.  Just have fun in Alaska...its a blast and the food is fantastic...try eating lunch at the ports.  SALMON FRESH!  The best!  

 I doubt that eating away from excursion will be permitted, at least for this summer, if the sailings even happen. I look forward to eating at Tracy's crab shack in Juneau, but I doubt that it will permitted. 

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