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Issues with the Unlimited Dining Package


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Has anyone encountered any issues with the Unlimited Dining Package?  Have some ships excluded restaurants that have been promoted as part of the package?  Dinner reservation issues?  Lunch not offered?  Surcharges, add-ons?   What suggestions do you have to resolve these issues?  Any tips on getting the most out of the package?

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Since the UDP was announced a couple years ago as Ultimate and later renamed Unlimited there have been minor issues with restaurants included.  The core restaurants are always good, it usually the places like Johnny Rockets or the Bamboo Room that have been inconsistent.

It became a lot better when they renamed the program and started to name the venues where it worked.  In the beginning Hibachi was often not allowed but then they settled on the small upcharge and it was universally included.  

Playmakers has been pretty good about accepting it since it was introduced after much of the time when there was more ambiguity.  The list you displayed wasn't there originally.  

To avoid reservation issues have a general understanding what you want written down in advance.  On boarding day head straight to the dining tables they set up or a restaurant and make your reservations for the whole week.  You can change them as the cruise evolves but staking your claim early is the best way to avoid reservation issues.   

Lunch is on sea days only with the exception of boarding day.  Not all venues open for lunch.  Look over past cruise compasses to look at the open hours at each venue.  https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/cruise-compass

 It's a lot of food.  The lunches are for the most part the same menu as dinner with the same size portions so it's like having dinner in the middle of the day.  I was so full from lunch I started moving all my dinner reservations to the last time slot so I might be a little hungry.  

If your ship has Playmakers that is probably the best burger experience on board, at least for my tastes.  Their wings are good too and if you like it hot, they can make wings very hot (spicy).

Not all Izumi have hot rocks and if the ship has Hibachi then the Izumi probably won't have hot rocks.    I'm not a big sushi fan so I generally avoid Izumi unless it has hot rocks and the person I am sailing with is a sushi person.

When you have the UDP there can be a tendency to avoid the MDR so you can get maximum value of the UDP but I'd suggest keeping the MDR in the back of your mind if you really like a certain MDR entree.  The UDP doesn't work there for the upcharge MDR menu items, but don't forget about the MDR for a break from all that food.  

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38 minutes ago, twangster said:

When you have the UDP there can be a tendency to avoid the MDR so you can get maximum value of the UDP but I'd suggest keeping the MDR in the back of your mind if you really like a certain MDR entree.  The UDP doesn't work there for the upcharge MDR menu items, but don't forget about the MDR for a break from all that food.  

I plan to book my My Time Dining for early evening.  I don't want to miss the Appetizers ha ha

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Our cruise on Symphony week after next will be our first time doing UDP. We don’t plan on using it for lunch. We’re always on the pool deck and don’t want to shower and dress for lunch. We got it for all the dinners. I hate that they took away the 5 night plan. It’s either 3 night or UDP. 

When we’ve done the 3 night (and now the UDP), I use the cruise compass to find out when the shows are and book our dinners around the shows we want to see. 

I asked someone currently on Symphony to post the show schedule since Flight just came back this week. 

Yesterday I picked when we wanted the shows and then chose dinner times. As soon as we’re onboard, I’ll head to a specialty restaurant (I choose the restaurants over tables in promenade because sometimes the tables don’t have computers and they’re doing it by phone) and make our reservations. Husband will jump on the App and book our shows. 

Then we head for the bar! 🥂 

I like having a plan. I’m type A and don’t like “winging it.” 😂

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2 hours ago, Jill said:

Our cruise on Symphony week after next will be our first time doing UDP. We don’t plan on using it for lunch. We’re always on the pool deck and don’t want to shower and dress for lunch. We got it for all the dinners. I hate that they took away the 5 night plan. It’s either 3 night or UDP. 

When we’ve done the 3 night (and now the UDP), I use the cruise compass to find out when the shows are and book our dinners around the shows we want to see. 

I asked someone currently on Symphony to post the show schedule since Flight just came back this week. 

Yesterday I picked when we wanted the shows and then chose dinner times. As soon as we’re onboard, I’ll head to a specialty restaurant (I choose the restaurants over tables in promenade because sometimes the tables don’t have computers and they’re doing it by phone) and make our reservations. Husband will jump on the App and book our shows. 

Then we head for the bar! 🥂 

I like having a plan. I’m type A and don’t like “winging it.” 😂

Did you get the new schedule? Would love to see.

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6 hours ago, twangster said:

Since the UDP was announced a couple years ago as Ultimate and later renamed Unlimited there have been minor issues with restaurants included.  The core restaurants are always good, it usually the places like Johnny Rockets or the Bamboo Room that have been inconsistent.

It became a lot better when they renamed the program and started to name the venues where it worked.  In the beginning Hibachi was often not allowed but then they settled on the small upcharge and it was universally included.  

Playmakers has been pretty good about accepting it since it was introduced after much of the time when there was more ambiguity.  The list you displayed wasn't there originally.  

To avoid reservation issues have a general understanding what you want written down in advance.  On boarding day head straight to the dining tables they set up or a restaurant and make your reservations for the whole week.  You can change them as the cruise evolves but staking your claim early is the best way to avoid reservation issues.   

Lunch is on sea days only with the exception of boarding day.  Not all venues open for lunch.  Look over past cruise compasses to look at the open hours at each venue.  https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/cruise-compass

 It's a lot of food.  The lunches are for the most part the same menu as dinner with the same size portions so it's like having dinner in the middle of the day.  I was so full from lunch I started moving all my dinner reservations to the last time slot so I might be a little hungry.  

If your ship has Playmakers that is probably the best burger experience on board, at least for my tastes.  Their wings are good too and if you like it hot, they can make wings very hot (spicy).

Not all Izumi have hot rocks and if the ship has Hibachi then the Izumi probably won't have hot rocks.    I'm not a big sushi fan so I generally avoid Izumi unless it has hot rocks and the person I am sailing with is a sushi person.

When you have the UDP there can be a tendency to avoid the MDR so you can get maximum value of the UDP but I'd suggest keeping the MDR in the back of your mind if you really like a certain MDR entree.  The UDP doesn't work there for the upcharge MDR menu items, but don't forget about the MDR for a break from all that food.  

So I want to be able to understand what you are saying.  In the main dining room the UDP does not work there.  You cant order a glass of wine or a cocktail and have the UDP cover it.  I know it only covers drinks up to $13 - but  does that exclude the main dining room?  I am a little confused  sorry if I sound naïve this is the first time on RCL and the first time I have an UDP on any cruise line.  Thanks! 

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10 minutes ago, Jim D said:

So I want to be able to understand what you are saying.  In the main dining room the UDP does not work there.  You cant order a glass of wine or a cocktail and have the UDP cover it.  I know it only covers drinks up to $13 - but  does that exclude the main dining room?  I am a little confused  sorry if I sound naïve this is the first time on RCL and the first time I have an UDP on any cruise line.  Thanks! 

You're getting the drinks package and the dining package confused. The drink package would, in fact, work in the MDR, as far as I'm aware. The upcharge items he's talking about are the "upgraded" filet and lobster available nightly for an extra cost.

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9 minutes ago, Jim D said:

So I want to be able to understand what you are saying.  In the main dining room the UDP does not work there.  You cant order a glass of wine or a cocktail and have the UDP cover it.  I know it only covers drinks up to $13 - but  does that exclude the main dining room?  I am a little confused  sorry if I sound naïve this is the first time on RCL and the first time I have an UDP on any cruise line.  Thanks! 

UDP = Unlimited DINING Package so has nothing to do with alcohol.  This package can't be used for MDR upcharges.

DBP = Deluxe Beverage Package can be used in the MDR (and generally anywhere else) to cover drinks/wine up to $13.

Gotta watch your TLAs!  (That's Three Letter Acronyms)

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18 minutes ago, Jim D said:

So I want to be able to understand what you are saying.  In the main dining room the UDP does not work there.  You cant order a glass of wine or a cocktail and have the UDP cover it.  I know it only covers drinks up to $13 - but  does that exclude the main dining room?  I am a little confused  sorry if I sound naïve this is the first time on RCL and the first time I have an UDP on any cruise line.  Thanks! 

The UDP - Unlimited Dining Package does not include the upcharge items on the MDR menu.

The Deluxe Beverage Package does work in the MDR as it does at any bar on the ship, for drinks up to the normal limits.  The Deluxe Beverage Package is indicated on SeaPass cards as "DX" so sometimes people use this in reference to the beverage package and some people refer to it as DBP.  

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49 minutes ago, GKMCruising said:

You're getting the drinks package and the dining package confused. The drink package would, in fact, work in the MDR, as far as I'm aware. The upcharge items he's talking about are the "upgraded" filet and lobster available nightly for an extra cost.

Opps my bad - thanks for the clarification 

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3 hours ago, Bmederson said:

Has anyone tried booking their own meals using the app once on board? Or is it just better to have someone on board do it?

You can try it as soon as you get connected to the wifi. I used the app to book a second dinner while I was at my first one night 😂

I didn't doing the whole week through the app since I was with my mother and she's had it all mapped out and preferred to deal with someone on the ship to book them.

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