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Hey,

Thanks for this awesome blog and boards, I am sure they are going to be very helpful for us in these coming months.

Even when booking the cruise I was so confused about what was included, what was not, and now I have all these dining options and drinking options to choose from.  

1. I chose the my time dining, do I still need to choose a time every night (paid gratuities in advance, but will of course give more at the time if the service is good).  Do we have to take additional dining and drinks, or is there enough 'complimentary' items to keep you alive?  Haven't really been able to find a concise list of what is included and what is not. 

2. Are you allowed to bring drinks and snacks on board from the ports

3. Do you have to get off at every port, or can you stay on the boat, follow up, when you get off, do you have to do a shore excursion

4. Does it cost extra to go to the onboard shows and movie screenings

5. If you don't opt for a drinks package, are drinks very expensive, same kinda question, if you dont opt for a dining package and do fancy somewhere some night, is it terribly expensive?

 

Explorer of the Seas in July 2023 is when we are going if that holds any relevance/information 😄

J. x

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1. You can choose a time every night in advance on the Cruise Planner before you sail, or just show up and wait for a table.

2. Sealed prefaced snacks allowed, YMMV on other food. You should be fine bringing an open can or bottle of coke/water back with you, but no to other drinks.

3. You can totally stay on board, it's your vacation.

4. I cant think of any on board shows or movies that cost extra, its usually activities/experiences that cost extra, like escape rooms, fly, dining, etc.

5. Drinks run between $3.00-13.00 plus 18% from the states. Really depends on how much and what kind if you want a drinks package. 

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You'll get a lot of replies, so I will just say that you don't have to exit at ports if you don't want to, and there are restrictions on what you can bring on the ship.  Matt has a lot of videos for first time travelers you should watch.  We find the complimentary drinks are fine, and we pay a la carte for soda or alcohol if we need to. Have a great cruise!

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Plenty of included beverages(non carbonated, non alcoholic). Multiple choices of included food.  You will do just fine if all you did was pay for the cruise and no added extras.  Shore excursions are nice but not necessary!

 

Welcome to the boards and enjoy your vacation!

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Thanks all, I just don't think any of the cruise lines make it overly clear what you get when you book, then suddenly there were all these additional options 😄

We have been talking about a cruise for years, so now we are on the countdown to one :D 

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I would make up a tentative schedule and book your MTD slots as soon as the option opens in the cruise planner. That way when you show up for dinner your wait should be minimal and you’ll likely be given the same waitstaff and even same table throughout the cruise even if you don’t book at the same time each night. Then if you want to tip extra you can bring cash tips on the final night of dining for the waiter and assistant waiter who you’ll have gotten the chance to get to know throughout the cruise.  You can get envelopes from guest services for the tips or your steward may leave some in your cabin. 
 

 

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On the subject of shore excursions, you can either book a Royal Caribbean excursion, a 3rd party excursion, or none at all.  Each port is different in terms of how to evaluate what is best for you.

Royal excursions are often more expensive and crowded but have the advantage of a guaranteed return to the ship on time - they will wait if something happens.

3rd party excursions are often cheaper and better but do not have the guarantee above

Often, you can just get off and find your own fun.  Some ports are in a city/town or close to a beach - if not you could just take a taxi.

I would recommend spending time at the shore excursion section of this website to get ideas.

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On 8/6/2022 at 2:52 PM, berkeleykel said:

Then if you want to tip extra you can bring cash tips on the final night of dining for the waiter and assistant waiter who you’ll have gotten the chance to get to know throughout the cruise.  You can get envelopes from guest services for the tips or your steward may leave some in your cabin. 
 

 

Does cash have to be in dollars?

 

On 8/6/2022 at 3:09 PM, wordell1 said:

On the subject of shore excursions, you can either book a Royal Caribbean excursion, a 3rd party excursion, or none at all.  Each port is different in terms of how to evaluate what is best for you.

Royal excursions are often more expensive and crowded but have the advantage of a guaranteed return to the ship on time - they will wait if something happens.

3rd party excursions are often cheaper and better but do not have the guarantee above

Often, you can just get off and find your own fun.  Some ports are in a city/town or close to a beach - if not you could just take a taxi.

I would recommend spending time at the shore excursion section of this website to get ideas.

Awesome, thank you so much.

I think we will book a 'RC Excusrion' for Athens, as it is further away than the port, but i think everywhere else stops in a little town, or near to one.

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On 8/6/2022 at 8:52 AM, berkeleykel said:

I would make up a tentative schedule and book your MTD slots as soon as the option opens in the cruise planner. That way when you show up for dinner your wait should be minimal and you’ll likely be given the same waitstaff and even same table throughout the cruise even if you don’t book at the same time each night. Then if you want to tip extra you can bring cash tips on the final night of dining for the waiter and assistant waiter who you’ll have gotten the chance to get to know throughout the cruise.  You can get envelopes from guest services for the tips or your steward may leave some in your cabin. 
 

 

One can't tip nightly?

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