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UDP Reservation Strategies


MattG
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Hi friends,

We picked up the UDP on Oasis on a 7-nighter in October 2022. Knowing there’s five specialty options for dinner (150CP, Chops, Giovanni’s, Izumi, Hibachi), we figured we’ll double-dip a few, but won’t really know which until we’ve tried them all. 
 

What are your UDP reservation strategies? Should we lock in one night of each specialty restaurant, then mid-cruise figure out what we want to double-dip to round out the cruise? Any specialty we should definitely do twice?

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I would definitely recommend making your dinner reservations as soon as possible and then try and "fill in" the double dips around lunches.  I also agree that it is wise to try them all and then decide which ones to re-visit.

I am not a huge fan of 150CP but many really enjoy it so I would say to try it for yourself and see !  We found that Izumi is a great lunch option b/c you can get as little or as much as you want.  We normally never eat lunch except for when we're on a cruise !  If I eat even a moderate lunch I am NOT hungry for dinner so we have to be very careful about over-grazing.

We also enjoy visiting Johnny Rocket, which is also included in your UDP so if that's something that you would enjoy, make sure to leave room for that, at least once.

The UDP is a lot of food.  Just sayin'....but we get it b/c we want the options.

Also keep in mind that you can mix it up a bit.  While we have NEVER tried to visit 2 separate restaurants for main meals (although I think it is permitted if there is availability), we did enjoy a meal at either Chops or Giovanni's (can't remember which it was) and then later went over to Wonderland for The World dessert.  I realize Oasis doesn't have Wonderland, but you could do the same thing with 2 different restaurants on Oasis.  We normally skip dessert b/c that's a LOT of food for us but we wanted to do it just once, so we did.  It was a lot of fun.

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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I would definitely recommend making your dinner reservations as soon as possible and then try and "fill in" the double dips around lunches.  I also agree that it is wise to try them all and then decide which ones to re-visit.

I am not a huge fan of 150CP but many really enjoy it so I would say to try it for yourself and see !  We found that Izumi is a great lunch option b/c you can get as little or as much as you want.  We normally never eat lunch except for when we're on a cruise !  If I eat even a moderate lunch I am NOT hungry for dinner so we have to be very careful about over-grazing.

We also enjoy visiting Johnny Rocket, which is also included in your UDP so if that's something that you would enjoy, make sure to leave room for that, at least once.

The UDP is a lot of food.  Just sayin'....but we get it b/c we want the options.

Also keep in mind that you can mix it up a bit.  While we have NEVER tried to visit 2 separate restaurants for main meals (although I think it is permitted if there is availability), we did enjoy a meal at either Chops or Giovanni's (can't remember which it was) and then later went over to Wonderland for The World dessert.  I realize Oasis doesn't have Wonderland, but you could do the same thing with 2 different restaurants on Oasis.  We normally skip dessert b/c that's a LOT of food for us but we wanted to do it just once, so we did.  It was a lot of fun.

Thank you! Your responses are always so thorough and thoughtful 🙂

We're keeping an eye on lunches - I also have a concern about over-eating on lunch impacting appetite for dinner. If we can do specialty dining for each dinner with UDP, we consider that a big win, and lunch on UDP is just icing on the cake. For lunch, we're planning on Izumi, Portside BBQ, and Johnny Rockets, with Windjammer sprinkled in. 

Another wrinkle is half of our party is kids 6 and under, and they really thrived on the WJ/MDR routine (Our last cruise was exclusively Windjammer for breakfast and lunch, and MDR for dinner).  We'll be putting them to the test with a meal in a different place every day!

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It all goes down to personal preference. In any case, I would recommend to reserve restaurants for all nights in advance, and change them if needed thereafter. Also study the menus upfront to check what they offer and if those meet your dietary needs like vegetarian, vegan, paleo, keto, low carb - you know you get the picture.

Consider also the expected atmosphere and ambiance. As much as we liked the food in Izumi for Hibachi, it is always very loud and busy. Whist other restaurants are much quieter and maybe even not so crowed.

From our recent experience on the Allure:

  • 150 Central Park has the most sophisticated food, plus the lobster doesn't have an additional premium
  • Chops - regular steakhouse food
  • Giovanni - Italian, what do you expect. Good food, but might be challenging if you have dietary restrictions
  • Samba Grill - not great - the meat does not compare to the other onboard restaurants or the Steakhouse grills you find ashore
  • Hibachi & Izumi Sushi - nice, but as mentioned above, too loud and crowded
  • Sabor - went their only for lunch, great food and massive portions

On sea days we ate lunch in specialty restaurants where offered and on port days we had breakfast. You can restrain yourself for lunch, e.g, skip the desert. Also the portions in Central Park and Chops are not that large. So don't worry to much. Spoil yourself 🙂

I hope that helps.

Markus

 

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43 minutes ago, MarkusB said:

It all goes down to personal preference. In any case, I would recommend to reserve restaurants for all nights in advance, and change them if needed thereafter. Also study the menus upfront to check what they offer and if those meet your dietary needs like vegetarian, vegan, paleo, keto, low carb - you know you get the picture.

Consider also the expected atmosphere and ambiance. As much as we liked the food in Izumi for Hibachi, it is always very loud and busy. Whist other restaurants are much quieter and maybe even not so crowed.

From our recent experience on the Allure:

  • 150 Central Park has the most sophisticated food, plus the lobster doesn't have an additional premium
  • Chops - regular steakhouse food
  • Giovanni - Italian, what do you expect. Good food, but might be challenging if you have dietary restrictions
  • Samba Grill - not great - the meat does not compare to the other onboard restaurants or the Steakhouse grills you find ashore
  • Hibachi & Izumi Sushi - nice, but as mentioned above, too loud and crowded
  • Sabor - went their only for lunch, great food and massive portions

On sea days we ate lunch in specialty restaurants where offered and on port days we had breakfast. You can restrain yourself for lunch, e.g, skip the desert. Also the portions in Central Park and Chops are not that large. So don't worry to much. Spoil yourself 🙂

I hope that helps.

Markus

 

Awesome information, thank you!

 

To the community: I think I know the answer to this, but I want to double-check: Can I book specialty restaurants on UDP prior to embarkation? Or do they have to be done on-board? When I booked UDP, it made me choose a time which I assume is for Day 1 dinner. 

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57 minutes ago, MarkusB said:

It all goes down to personal preference. In any case, I would recommend to reserve restaurants for all nights in advance, and change them if needed thereafter. Also study the menus upfront to check what they offer and if those meet your dietary needs like vegetarian, vegan, paleo, keto, low carb - you know you get the picture.

Consider also the expected atmosphere and ambiance. As much as we liked the food in Izumi for Hibachi, it is always very loud and busy. Whist other restaurants are much quieter and maybe even not so crowed.

From our recent experience on the Allure:

  • 150 Central Park has the most sophisticated food, plus the lobster doesn't have an additional premium
  • Chops - regular steakhouse food
  • Giovanni - Italian, what do you expect. Good food, but might be challenging if you have dietary restrictions
  • Samba Grill - not great - the meat does not compare to the other onboard restaurants or the Steakhouse grills you find ashore
  • Hibachi & Izumi Sushi - nice, but as mentioned above, too loud and crowded
  • Sabor - went their only for lunch, great food and massive portions

On sea days we ate lunch in specialty restaurants where offered and on port days we had breakfast. You can restrain yourself for lunch, e.g, skip the desert. Also the portions in Central Park and Chops are not that large. So don't worry to much. Spoil yourself 🙂

I hope that helps.

Markus

 

How do we reserve UDP dinning before boarding? 

 

Thanks,

John

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20 minutes ago, MattG said:

Awesome information, thank you!

 

To the community: I think I know the answer to this, but I want to double-check: Can I book specialty restaurants on UDP prior to embarkation? Or do they have to be done on-board? When I booked UDP, it made me choose a time which I assume is for Day 1 dinner. 

It gives you a placeholder when you purchase.  You will have to make your reservations when you get on the ship.  We board Harmony on Sunday, and setting our 7 dinner reservations will be the second thing we do, after getting a cold adult beverage.

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1 hour ago, MattG said:

To the community: I think I know the answer to this, but I want to double-check: Can I book specialty restaurants on UDP prior to embarkation? Or do they have to be done on-board? When I booked UDP, it made me choose a time which I assume is for Day 1 dinner. 

You can only do this once you are connected to the ships WIFI via app or if you go any of the specialty dining restaurants. We did the latter and they booked all dinner places for the whole trip. As the cruise went on, we made a few adjustments - no big deal. I had assumed that the first night was already booked, but it wasn't. 

Markus

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2 hours ago, MattG said:

I didn't even think this was an option!

Technically, it is....but I have never tried to do it, myself.  Some will say that Unlimited really does mean unlimited and that you can eat in any specialty restaurant at any time, as many times as you want, provided they have room to accommodate you.  In reality, I'm not sure if this would  "go over" or not.  The truth is, I just simply cannot eat that much and have never even entertained the idea of trying to eat twice after 6:00.  I can barely even eat lunch and then eat a full meal for dinner.  BUT if anyone has done this before or tries it in the future, please let us know !

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59 minutes ago, AshleyDillo said:

I was checking on reservations in the 9pm hour during my 7pm meal just for fun and it let me book it.

That's very interesting.  I guess I didn't really think they would let you make 2 reservations for the same night.  Glad to see I was wrong !

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My strategy?  I prepare a list to make sure I cover everything.  I also avoid making reservations over the phone or at the Promenade with a crew member using a phone.  Not having a visual of the reservations on a screen can be tedious and confusing.  I find someone with a laptop or computer screen before them and present my list.

image.thumb.png.727550d91d47a2e7f139afbb7ba6016a.png 

The next time I'll do this, I'll also add the day of the week to the list.  The crew member at Chops was going my the day of the week instead of Day 1, Day 2 etc.  I've encountered some crew members going by destination, saying things like "That will be at Nassau ... that will be at St Maarten... that's a sea day"

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15 minutes ago, PG Cruiser said:

My strategy?  I prepare a list to make sure I cover everything.  I also avoid making reservations over the phone or at the Promenade with a crew member using a phone.  Not having a visual of the reservations on a screen can be tedious and confusing.  I find someone with a laptop or computer screen before them and present my list.

image.thumb.png.727550d91d47a2e7f139afbb7ba6016a.png 

The next time I'll do this, I'll also add the day of the week to the list.  The crew member at Chops was going my the day of the week instead of Day 1, Day 2 etc.  I've encountered some crew members going by destination, saying things like "That will be at Nassau ... that will be at St Maarten... that's a sea day"

Thank you! I was thinking the same thing. When I do my table, i'll be sure to have columns for:

  • Day of Week (Mon, Tue)
  • Cruise Day (Day 1, Day 2)
  • Destination (Sea Day, Nassau, PDCC)
  • Time
  • Venue
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23 minutes ago, AshleyDillo said:

Yes! Last time I got the package and on boarding day I went directly to an open specialty restaurant as a walk up diner for lunch. Then during lunch I hopped on the app and made reservations for the week. 

In my case, during embarkation lunch at Giovanni’s, while waiting for my order, I went to the Receptionist and booked all my dinner reservations.

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