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UDP and Holiday Meals


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Hello, my husband and I are regular cruisers, but we booked our first holiday cruise on the Serenade (December 24-31). We booked the Unlimited Dining Package as we normally do but I have some questions about specialty dining on December 24 & 25 as I know those are the Holiday meals.

Are we able to dine in Chops and Giovanni's those nights but get the regular meal without the champagne or in order to dine in the specialty restaurants those nights will we have to pay the holiday meal prices ($99 & $95) on top of what we paid for the UDP? When we purchased the UDP months ago, the courtesy dinner reservation was made for Day 1 (December 24th).

Fine print on cruise planner says:

·         Not valid for premium experiences including: Wine Pairing Dinners, Taste of Royal, and Mystery Dinner Theater.

·         Holiday Celebration Dinners are not included with this package.

Looking on Cruise Planner, the Chops Holiday menu looks to be the same as the regular menu, while Giovanni’s does appear to have some different options on the Holiday menu.

On another note, for sailings that start on December 24th, how does the Diamond Plus BOGO work if you can’t dine in specialty dining and BOGO is only for specialty dining on Day 1 and 2?

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If I recall correctly we dined at Chops on the Odyssey last Christmas and they had a special Holiday menu. It actually had less on it then a regular dinner at Chops menu. 

We were unimpressed and felt the experience was better in CK on Thanksgiving. If they give you a reservation with the UDP they will probably serve you off the regular menu, which I felt was much better then our over priced limited selections but add a glass of champagne for the price. 

I am sorry I didn't answer your question but I wanted to share our experience last 12/25. 

We are on the Serenade for Thanksgiving this year and are just going to visit the MDR that evening. For me personally, because my family won't go near Izumi there are not enough restaurants to justify the UDP for us.  Not sure if I am doing a live blog or not but any questions you have for me being on the ship in 57 days I'll do my best to answer for you. Enjoy your Holiday sailing!

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6 hours ago, TakeMeSomewhere said:

On another note, for sailings that start on December 24th, how does the Diamond Plus BOGO work if you can’t dine in specialty dining and BOGO is only for specialty dining on Day 1 and 2?

We ran into a situation where the specialty restaurant we wanted was completely booked the first two nights. We were able to use our BOGO on the third night, but the staff pre-charged our account on the first night. That's how they handle exceptions, since the ability to charge a BOGO disappears from their system after the second night. 

Just go talk to the host where you want to dine and they work it out for you.

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Thank you very much @Neesaand @KristiZ! @NeesaI agree completely about the Chops Holiday menu. On Cruise Planner the sample Holiday menu looked the exact same if not less options than the regular menu. Guests are being charged the $99 pp for the bottle of champagne. At least the Giovanni's sample Holiday menu had some new options just for the Holiday meal. I still don't plan on spending $95 pp for it though. 

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1 hour ago, TakeMeSomewhere said:

Thank you very much @Neesaand @KristiZ! @NeesaI agree completely about the Chops Holiday menu. On Cruise Planner the sample Holiday menu looked the exact same if not less options than the regular menu. Guests are being charged the $99 pp for the bottle of champagne. At least the Giovanni's sample Holiday menu had some new options just for the Holiday meal. I still don't plan on spending $95 pp for it though. 

I am in agreement with you there, I sadly felt the hype of the Holiday dinner did not justify the super high price. For us Holiday celebrations are about being together as a family and we can do that at the MDR, the reality of the "special" dinner left me with less then warm and fuzzy. I kind of felt a bit "duped" Our MDR experiences have been mixed but I go in thinking "only I can make the best of it" by managing our expectations. I'll take a Holiday sailing over not sailing every time!

* And I know EVERYTHING is going up in price but for me there is a fine line, sometimes it seems the pricing is just over the top ridiculous. $95 pp is a lot.

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