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UDP: eating Maine lobsters & steaks without surcharges


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I have purchased the UDP package for my upcoming Miami-Bahamas (first ever) cruise in next November on Wonder Of The Seas, after reading the description on the UDP page on RCCL website it states that there may be some surcharges, I've read a lot in this forum and other forums (Cruise Critic) about different people stories regarding those surcharges, so decided not to do mistakes that may incur me extra costs over the UDP original cost.

We don't drink Alcohol, we will not choose Hibachi option at Izumi, and we mainly look for Maine lobsters and steaks.

can we eat Maine lobsters and steaks without being charged the surcharges ? if yes, where to eat them ?

Thank you in advance.

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Thank YOU for asking this question!! I actually came here to search specifically for this, and also to ask (To piggy back on your topic) about specialty restaurant lunches on Sea days. Are reservations required for lunches as well? Also, are all specialty restaurants open for lunch on Sea Days? C'mon all you awesome cruisers who answer our endless questions! 🙂

This one's a Two-Fer. 👍

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You don't need the UDP to eat steak in the MDR when it's on the menu but the steak in the MDR is not from Chops Grille, the steak house on board.  I typically don't eat MDR steak because I find the cut of meat not to my liking but others may be fine with MDR steak.  

The UDP does not cover upcharges on the MDR menu for lobster or Chops Grille steaks.  You need to visit Chops to eat a Chops steak included with the UDP.  At least in my experience.  I've not heard of anyone who was able to get MDR upgrades included in the UDP but perhaps it has happened.  

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

You don't need the UDP to eat steak in the MDR when it's on the menu but the steak in the MDR is not from Chops Grille, the steak house on board.  I typically don't eat MDR steak because I find the cut of meat not to my liking but others may be fine with MDR steak.  

The UDP does not cover upcharges on the MDR menu for lobster or Chops Grille steaks.  You need to visit Chops to eat a Chops steak included with the UDP.  At least in my experience.  I've not heard of anyone who was able to get MDR upgrades included in the UDP but perhaps it has happened.  

what's the point of dining at the MDR while I have UDP to dine at specialty restaurants which I guess is way better than the MDR.

The description page for the UDP doesn't state that I have a certain amount of balance to not exceed at each specialty restaurant or a surcharge will be added to my account, except for this phrase: "For restaurants with a la carte pricing, you’ll receive a $20 food credit."

The question is: how does someone know that an item like "Maine Lobster" (if it's on the menu at a specialty restaurant) is covered or not by the UDP ?

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I believe you may be asking if you are charged more at the specialty restaurants. If so, it will say so on the menu. I want to say all is included as steak IS the specialty at the restaurants. Check out some of the menus online for the restaurants on your ship so you can see what they have and if they are Maine lobster (doubt it). Chops obviously will have steaks.
     Yes, you do need a reservation for lunch. If not busy, you may be able to do a walk up. Typically, all are open (usually only one on embarkation day).

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12 hours ago, forests_lover said:

what's the point of dining at the MDR while I have UDP to dine at specialty restaurants which I guess is way better than the MDR.

There really isn't one unless you're completely enamored by a dish that is specific to the MDR. 

12 hours ago, forests_lover said:

The question is: how does someone know that an item like "Maine Lobster" (if it's on the menu at a specialty restaurant) is covered or not by the UDP ?

If there's an upcharge, it will be specifically called out on the menu.  This is a sample of a page of the Chops Grille.  Note how the Broiled 1 1/2 lb. Maine Lobster is the only dish with a price included. 

Screen Shot 2022-09-25 at 10.56.31 AM.png

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13 hours ago, forests_lover said:

what's the point of dining at the MDR while I have UDP to dine at specialty restaurants which I guess is way better than the MDR.

The description page for the UDP doesn't state that I have a certain amount of balance to not exceed at each specialty restaurant or a surcharge will be added to my account, except for this phrase: "For restaurants with a la carte pricing, you’ll receive a $20 food credit."

The question is: how does someone know that an item like "Maine Lobster" (if it's on the menu at a specialty restaurant) is covered or not by the UDP ?

The places that serve lobster as an up charge are NOT considered Al a carte pricing. Playmakers and Izumi are al a carte. Chops is not. You just aren’t going to get Maine lobster for free with the UDP….isn’t happening. 

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14 minutes ago, Ryan79 said:

The places that serve lobster as an up charge are NOT considered Al a carte pricing. Playmakers and Izumi are al a carte. Chops is not. You just aren’t going to get Maine lobster for free with the UDP….isn’t happening. 

how do you know that Chops is not a la carte restaurant while Izumi is ?  the UDP description page says the following:

"For restaurants with a la carte pricing, you’ll receive a $20 food credit."

and the following: "For ships with these venues, Teppanyaki/Izumi Hibachi is included, with a $10 surcharge, Chef's Table is included, with a $49.99 surcharge, and Dadong is included, with a $35 surcharge. These will be charged once onboard."

so it's unreasonable that i will be charged $10 at Izumi's Hibachi while at the same time I'll be given a $20 credit to eat there (according to the statement above) 🙂

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51 minutes ago, USCG Teacher said:

There really isn't one unless you're completely enamored by a dish that is specific to the MDR. 

If there's an upcharge, it will be specifically called out on the menu.  This is a sample of a page of the Chops Grille.  Note how the Broiled 1 1/2 lb. Maine Lobster is the only dish with a price included. 

Screen Shot 2022-09-25 at 10.56.31 AM.png

 

wow, I was really looking for a sample menu, thank you dude.

However, by showing $21 beside the Maine Lobster meal, does that mean that if i order it, then I will be credited the $20 that's mentioned in the UDP description page which says: "For restaurants with a la carte pricing, you’ll receive a $20 food credit."

resulting in $1 + 18% gratuity as a total charge ??

 

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15 hours ago, forests_lover said:

The question is: how does someone know that an item like "Maine Lobster" (if it's on the menu at a specialty restaurant) is covered or not by the UDP ?

You ask the wait staff.  

50% of UDP varies by ship.  No one here can say with absolute what is and isn't included with the UDP beyond the basic cover for specialty dining.  It depends on the phase of the moon. 

Generally speaking if a venue like Chops has an additional charge for someone paying to eat at Chops then getting access to Chops VIA the UDP isn't a silver bullet that carries special powers that avoids being charged extra for what others paying per visit without a UDP do or don't get.  The UDP gets you in the door instead of paying for that visit on a one meal at a time basis.  Beyond getting in the door the UDP had no special power at cover charge venues.    

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14 minutes ago, twangster said:

The UDP gets you in the door instead of paying for that visit on a one meal at a time basis.  Beyond getting in the door the UDP had no special power at cover charge venues.    

wow this is interesting to know, they don't tell you that clearly in the description page for the UDP.

 

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9 hours ago, forests_lover said:

 

wow, I was really looking for a sample menu, thank you dude.

However, by showing $21 beside the Maine Lobster meal, does that mean that if i order it, then I will be credited the $20 that's mentioned in the UDP description page which says: "For restaurants with a la carte pricing, you’ll receive a $20 food credit."

resulting in $1 + 18% gratuity as a total charge ??

 

Chops is not an a la carte restaurant. Your UDP will get you anything on the Chops menu that doesn't have a price. If an item has a price (Lobster $21), you will eat everything else for free, and pay $21 for the lobster.

Izumi is a la carte. UDP gets $20 credit at Izumi. If you order $25 of food, you will pay $5.

Hibachi has a $10 upcharge when you have UDP. You pay $10 and all other items are free.

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4 hours ago, Pooch said:

Nope, only on lobster night, typically the second “dress your best” night.  If you have the app downloaded (and if you don’t, do it) you can view menus for pretty much every specialty restaurant and the MDR by clicking on Dining.

I have downloaded the app and checked the restaurants column under the dining section, they have only 8 restaurants listed in that section other than the MDR, which’s weird coz there are lots of restaurants not mentioned like: Wonderland, The Mason Jar and Hooked, my cruise is Wonder of the seas which have about 20 restaurants including the above.

So does that mean the UDP doesn’t cover more than 8 specialty restaurants which are those listed in dining section in the app ?

one more weird thing: I tried to hit the “Reserve Now” button in Chop’s Grille page and when I pick up a time slot, it shows me a price and my saved credit card to pay that cost if i want to reserve that restaurant, where it should be free considering the I have the UDP.

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2 hours ago, EnSeven said:

Chops is not an a la carte restaurant. Your UDP will get you anything on the Chops menu that doesn't have a price. If an item has a price (Lobster $21), you will eat everything else for free, and pay $21 for the lobster.

Izumi is a la carte. UDP gets $20 credit at Izumi. If you order $25 of food, you will pay $5.

Hibachi has a $10 upcharge when you have UDP. You pay $10 and all other items are free.

No, not right you get a $35 credit at Izumi, hence the $10 upcharge because Hibachi starts at $45. The option is $35 worth of food or the $35 prefix menu which is one small plate, two large plates and a dessert. 

$20 is for Playmakers or Portside BBQ as the cost of the food is fairly cheap. 

You also are subjected to one entree at Chops

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10 hours ago, forests_lover said:

 

one more weird thing: I tried to hit the “Reserve Now” button in Chop’s Grille page and when I pick up a time slot, it shows me a price and my saved credit card to pay that cost if i want to reserve that restaurant, where it should be free considering the I have the UDP.

You won't be able to make reservations for the UDP until you board the ship.

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13 hours ago, forests_lover said:

one more weird thing: I tried to hit the “Reserve Now” button in Chop’s Grille page and when I pick up a time slot, it shows me a price and my saved credit card to pay that cost if i want to reserve that restaurant, where it should be free considering the I have the UDP.

The price you pay(or don't pay) for the UDP is that you can't make reservations until you board. If you try booking now it does not recognize your UDP purchase.

It is treated as a normal reservation at current price of venue at that time.

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6 hours ago, SpeedNoodles said:

You won't be able to make reservations for the UDP until you board the ship.

good to know that ... can you tell me why there are only 8 speciality restaurants currently listed in the dining section in the app (sail date will be late November, 2022) ?

does it mean that the number of restaurants to open depends on the capacity of the ship at day of travel ?

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I figured out why there are only 8 restaurants show up on the mobile app, i am on a totally different ship, I'm a first time cruiser here, and I'm kind of lost among app and website features when I back did the reservation, anyway that got me to choose the right date for myself but the wrong ship, my ship is Freedom of the Seas, which's no more than a "bottom-glass boat" comparing to Wonder, in terms of everything, from entertainment, to pools to dining, etc .. so I called RRCL to ask for a sail change (to enjoy the cruise on Wonder), they told me that's not possible, the only possible thing to do is to cancel the reservation and get a refund of 75% of the total paid amount and then reserve Wonder of the seas cruise, I've carefully read their cancellation policy and turned out that the customer service rep was wrong, the policy says that I will be refunded 50% of the total cruise amount if the sail date is more than 62 days, which's unacceptable to lose half of what I paid.

 

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23 hours ago, Pooch said:

Abject lesson on the value of a good Travel Agent.  

I just finished switching my cruise to Wonder of the seas,  7 nights from Port Canaveral into some Caribbean destinations, I've paid no penalties, just the price difference, I told them that one of your colleagues told me that's not possible to switch cruise without a cancellation and re-booking, which's turned out to be the opposite ...

now, returning back to main topic 🙂 is Eating Maine Lobster under UDP in Wonder of The Sea free of charge ?

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1 hour ago, forests_lover said:

I just finished switching my cruise to Wonder of the seas,  7 nights from Port Canaveral into some Caribbean destinations, I've paid no penalties, just the price difference, I told them that one of your colleagues told me that's not possible to switch cruise without a cancellation and re-booking, which's turned out to be the opposite ...

now, returning back to main topic 🙂 is Eating Maine Lobster under UDP in Wonder of The Sea free of charge ?

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/content/dam/royal/resources/menus/hooked-seafood-menu-sample.pdf

It's on the menu at Wonder.

There's also lobster on the menu at 150 Central Park, but it doesn't specify it is Maine lobster.

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/content/dam/royal/resources/menus/one-hundred-fifty-central-park-menu-sample.pdf

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2 hours ago, forests_lover said:

I just finished switching my cruise to Wonder of the seas,  7 nights from Port Canaveral into some Caribbean destinations, I've paid no penalties, just the price difference, I told them that one of your colleagues told me that's not possible to switch cruise without a cancellation and re-booking, which's turned out to be the opposite ...

now, returning back to main topic 🙂 is Eating Maine Lobster under UDP in Wonder of The Sea free of charge ?

Glad it turned out for you but a TA wouldn’t have let you make that mistake in the first place.

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1 hour ago, AshleyDillo said:

Remember both of those restaurants are an up charge.  So if you get a 3 night dining package you could be fine.  The lobster at the 150 is Lobster Thermador which is pretty good in my opinion. I think it is a warm water lobster tail. 

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You are NOT getting Maine lobster without a surcharge….end of story. Period. The lobster at 150 is warm water as are the lobsters in the MDR at lobster night. Same with Hooked. If you have your heart set on free Maine lobster, you booked the wrong cruise line. You will be paying a upcharge on RCL

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31 minutes ago, barjpoe said:

Remember both of those restaurants are an up charge.  So if you get a 3 night dining package you could be fine.  The lobster at the 150 is Lobster Thermador which is pretty good in my opinion. I think it is a warm water lobster tail. 

UDP is the ultimate dining plan.  Both of those restaurants are included with the UDP.

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The UDP doesn't have a lot of upcharges, just more so restrictions. I don't eat lobster, but I have heard that most of it is good at specialty restaurants. Also, pretty much every restaurant has a steak and sort of upscale seafood option. Imho the steak at Chops is my least favorite, the one at Hooked is about 14x better. 

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2 hours ago, Ryan79 said:

You are NOT getting Maine lobster without a surcharge….end of story. Period. The lobster at 150 is warm water as are the lobsters in the MDR at lobster night. Same with Hooked. If you have your heart set on free Maine lobster, you booked the wrong cruise line. You will be paying a upcharge on RCL

AFAIK, any item on the menu that's marked with a price is an up-charge item, exactly like the Lobster at Chop's Grille  which has $20 (marked) up-charge, but the ones at Hooked and 150 Central Park are not marked with any price, I will ask the waiter when I get there.

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7 hours ago, Ampurp85 said:

The UDP doesn't have a lot of upcharges, just more so restrictions. I don't eat lobster, but I have heard that most of it is good at specialty restaurants. Also, pretty much every restaurant has a steak and sort of upscale seafood option. Imho the steak at Chops is my least favorite, the one at Hooked is about 14x better. 

why's the steak better in Hooked ? is it the cooking style or the type of meat and cut ? I eat steaks well-done so I may not feel much difference when I try both.

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5 hours ago, forests_lover said:

why's the steak better in Hooked ? is it the cooking style or the type of meat and cut ? I eat steaks well-done so I may not feel much difference when I try both.

It was flavor, juiciness and cooking IMHO at Hooked that made it a better steak. Maybe because I have eating steak so many other places but other than the Beach club steak, I hate whatever marinade/seasons they use, every steak everywhere has been better than Chops. I do medium to a medium well, haven't done well done so don't know if that will change the flavor and such. 

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