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Going on Allure and not spending a dime on dinner


Tony Sky
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Hi Everyone,

I'm new here and this is my first post.  I have half a mind to delete this because it might be a little strong for a first post- LOL!  The last time I cruised was on Explorer back in 2006.  I recently booked my family on Allure going to Roatan and Mexico in March.  It's a surprise and I'm excited to see my kids faces when we get dropped off at the cruise port and they see the ship for the first time.  "Yep WE are going on THAT!" 

One thing I've noticed since 2006 is that things seem much more complicated with the add ons and tack on fees and complex reservations etc. It's kind of made me half crazy and anything, but relaxed.   "Manage your cruise" What?  Isn't that sort of what I'm paying you a whole lot of money for, Royal Carribean?  

When I last cruised my wife and I did one night at Portofinos which was a restaurant that used to be on the Explorer.  The food was good I'm sure of that, but I don't even remember how it tasted these years later or what I ate.  Here is what I do remember: the fun we had with our dinning room waiter and tablemates. We still laugh about them to this day!  The cabin attendents making towel animals and the bartenders, and looking out at the ocean, the sailaway party and the New Yorkers saying "Heyyyy! it's the Verrazzano!!!" as we glided underneath the bridge on the start of our carribean adventure. 

As soon as I booked Allure, I was introduced the the Key program and dining packages which are not cheap!  Forgive me for saying this but it seems like a rude bait and switch.  A cruise should be about hospitality and abundance and the Key program introduces scarcity...that little fear that you know "they really are short on Flowrider time and show tickets and if you want your kids to be able to try it you need to give us $160 a day for 7 days..."  

Honestly, I'm not trying to be cynical, perhaps this is the way it is and I'm making a "rookie" mistake in this day and age, but I'm taking a different approach so tell me if you think this could still work.

1.  We're going to eat in the MDR and have fun at dinner.  We're going to eat at the Windjammer and try to find a nice table near a window and try food from around the world.

2. We're going to eat soft serve ice cream at 2 o'clock every single day!

3. We'll eat Sorrentos and the Park Deli.

4. We're going to look up at the stars at night and go for walks around the ship.  Maybe watch a movie!

5. We're going to get up early and watch the sun come up over the ocean and whisper a quick prayer or two.

6. We're going go to the pools and shoot hoops in the middle of the carribean sea and play ping pong and do the flowrider and have mini golf
tournaments everyday with prizes I'll be giving out.

7. We'll book some shows and hope we get seats.  It'll be great if even one of my kids begins to love theather.

8. We're going to enjoy time together and walk up to the bow of the ship and stand on the helicopter pad.  We're NOT going to have internet.

9. I'll buy my daughter some candy-- Ok there's 7 bucks, I can't say no!

10. We'll spend money doing excursions and see some Mayan ruins and enjoy being in another country and play on the beaches.

 

I just want to be together with my family on an already great ship. Let me know if I've got this wrong.  Thanks, T.

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Why would that be wrong?  It’s your cruise, do it your way.  You don’t HAVE to spend a dime on board if you don’t want to.  Of course Royal is going to tempt you with add-ons, they are in business to make money and they do so with the add-ons.  Doesn’t mean you have to buy any of them.

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I love your attitude. 
here is something that can help you save additional money

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/food-drink-onboard-policy

Allure has Mama Mia-great show!

book your show reservations on boarding day.  Will it seem a drag to do do-absolutely, but you want to be sure you see the Aqua show, and if they are still doing reservations for the theater that as well!  If you wait for later in the day things might close out.  You can always go standby, show up early. 
 

you don’t mention the age of the kids.  If you are comfortable with them “being free” to do as they please….mine were over 11 when I did this….we only met at dinner and they knew their curfew.  They made friends at the teen clubs.  
move also packed some of my kids favorite snacks-chips, pretzels, for excursions or late night treat.  They don’t eat a lot of cakes/bakery treats.  
 

enjoy your cruise!

 

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We were on Adventure last January, our first cruise, and because of a cancelled excursion we ended up getting money back at the end! We did have the DBP, but did not eat at specialty restaurants, did ALL the "included" things, and had a great time.  Same for our upcoming February cruise -- I'm planning on not spending any money once I'm on the ship. 

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On 9/25/2022 at 3:30 PM, Tony Sky said:

 

I just want to be together with my family on an already great ship. Let me know if I've got this wrong.  Thanks, T.

Yeah, you'll be fine. You don't need to book "The Key" or go crazy with specialty dining.

Some things have changed, but you are here and you'll get a few new tips and tricks (like making sure you install the app and book the shows once you get onboard), and things will be great.

I do miss Portofinos on Explorer though.  And the drink prices are kinda crazy now, just prepare yourself.

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You don't have to spend for any of the add-ons and you can still have a fantastic cruise! 

Allure being an Oasis class ships has a LOT of complimentary dining options:

  • Main Dining Room
  • Windjammer Buffet
  • Park Cafe
  • Johnny Rockets is included for breakfast only (you pay for lunch and dinner).  
  • Doghouse on the Boardwalk.
  • Mini Bites is located up on the pool deck and will have breakfast and lunch available and is included.
  • Solarium Bistro is in the Solarium area and offers breakfast and lunch
  • Sorrentos Pizza and Promenade Cafe are on the Promenade and have near 24-hour service and are included.
  • Vitality Cafe which will be located near the gym/spa area. They have some light bite, fresh food items as well which will be complimentary.  The Cruise Compass will show ($) next to the Vitality Cafe, but that just indicates there is a charge for the juice/smoothies without a package.
  • Soft serve is available on the pool deck
  • Boardwalk doughnuts are available in the morning

What you can appreciate is that there is a large variety of dining places (complimentary and extra) so it will help better spread out the 5000-6000 passengers on the ship!

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I was on the Allure last week and there were 5338 passengers…we never felt overcrowded most likely due to the spaciousness and variety of things to do.  Timing is key for the Windjammer but even if you happen to arrive at peak time it’s not that horrible!  We cruised  8 nights and for the very first time opted to eat at one specialty restaurant on one night…Samba.  I will stick to complimentary dining from now on as I also enjoy the interaction with the wait staff.  Yes, it was pretty decent food (but pricey) but this restaurant is located in the Solarium Bistro so no air conditioning or if there is A/C it certainly doesn’t cool you off!   
Your children‘s ages are perfect for allowing you and your wife some alone time.  While I was enjoying this cruise, I kept thinking of how much fun my grandkids would have on this ship.  We are actually looking at potential cruises for next summer to include them!

Enjoy the countdown to your cruise and enjoy every minute once onboard!

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On 9/26/2022 at 2:05 AM, Tony Sky said:

I love the positive message and support that you can still have fun without optional spending.

Wife and I have been on many cruises where we hardly spent anything. Enjoy! I still make it a point to check out what every included food venue has daily as I tend to eat quite a bit when I cruise and some things change day-to-day (WJ, Cafe Promenade, etc.)

P.S. Yes, it's Wipeout Cafe on Allure. Other Oasis class ships like Harmony have "Mini Bites" in that spot. Wipeout Cafe used to be a good place to get omelets and basic breakfast sides if you wanted to avoid the WJ but I haven't been in one in quite a while.

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Thats the best part about cruising, you can do it your way.  My wife and I usually go for a balcony room and enjoy the buffet and MDR.  We purchase the DBP and sometimes eat specialty dining.  We are taking our kids on their very first cruise in Feb 23 on Allure and we went Star Class this time.  So we are going to do all the things and eat all the things this upcoming trip.  I'm afraid it will be hard to go back lol.

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Don't look at it as bait and switch.  There are a lot of lines out there that include a lot of extras, but charge a much higher base fare.  For many, this means they are paying for things they may not use.

Royal basically gives you the choice of how you want to cruise.  Sure, they want you to spend extra, but it is not required and the crew will treat you the same either way.

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Lots of people like to spend lots of money on cruises. It's a vacation so why not splurge?

On the other hand some people see cruising as just a getaway. They don't spend a dime more than they have to. That's okay too. In fact saving money like that may allow them to do more cruises.

 
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We have been on more than a dozen cruises and I feel like we have done it differently each time.  Sometimes this has been determined by who we are traveling with, other times just by the locations.  We have tried to "do it all" and participate in as many games as possible, we have also shied away from everything.  We tend to eat mostly in the MDR for dinners, Windjammer for lunch and order room service for breakfasts.  We are headed out on Navigator in November and have booked a specialty dining restaurant for the first time - because the seafood looks amazing.  I don't see us ever being one of the people that book these every night, as others have said - I enjoy getting to know table mates and the dining staff.  I have loved how they quickly learn our preferences and that is when the special service really begins.

That was a lot to say - one of the most incredible things about cruising is you do it your way - every time.  And that can change - each time!

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@Tony Sky As long as you look over the venues that require show reservations (normally the Broadway show; Aqua show; Ice show and Comedy Club) right after you board on first day, while waiting on cabin to open, you should have a good pick of show times. 

Then if you want decent seating just don't try to walk in 5-10 minutes before the show and not expect there to be a lot of people there, we normally go in about 20 minutes early and there are plenty of selections available.

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9 minutes ago, CruiseGus said:

@Tony Sky I think your plan is just fine, enjoy your cruise.

In referance to shows, as long as you look over the venues on the App that require show reservations (normally the Broadway show; Aqua show; Ice show and Comedy Club) right after you board on first day, while waiting on cabin to open, you should have a good pick of show times. 

Then if you want decent seating just don't try to walk in 5-10 minutes before the show and not expect there to be a lot of people there, we normally go in about 20 minutes early and there are plenty of selections available.

 

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On 9/26/2022 at 1:05 AM, Tony Sky said:


Thank you all for the responses.  I love the positive message and support that you can still have fun without optional spending.  Also thanks for the perspective on the Flowrider and the info on booking shows at boarding.

My kids will be 15, 13 and 9. 

I think your plan is perfect! I have only been on two other cruises with one more planned for this coming spring.  We get on the ship, like you, and don’t pay extra for anything. We eat great and enjoy the shows. We sit and take in the views and enjoy each sunset and sunrise. And yes, we whisper prayers over all our meals and those sunrises. You have a perfect plan and your kiddos should love every moment of your surprise! 
 

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On 10/1/2022 at 7:13 PM, Zambia-Zaire said:

With the Refreshment Package, do one still have to "eat at" Johnny Rockers to get a shake with the Package? In other words, one can't just go get a shake with the Refreshment Package without dining in?

You can go and ask. Some ships are more inclined to allow it than other ships but there's no official rule.

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2 hours ago, Tony Sky said:

So I book the shows directly from the RC App once onboard?

Many shows don't do reservations but use the app to schedule it and arrive with enough time to get your choice of seats. But if you are going to one that does, an ice show for instance, yes, you can use the app onboard to do so.

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I have only been on a few cruises.  One of my first cruise - we did not purchase anything extra except the internet. My last cruise with my siblings - they wanted to go to all of those specialty restaurants.  We were only in the MDR twice.  To tell you the truth - I can't remember most of what I ate - yes the food was good but I missed the MDR and have the same wait staff each night. My brother gets the deluxe drink package while I am very happy with the refreshment package - but again, I could have lived just on the ice tea and water.

Keep it simple and save your money for the shore excursion.  This way, maybe you will be able to afford  2 cruises with the money you save. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Tony Sky Your cruise plan is perfect.  You don't need to spend a dime on anything extra, especially on an Oasis-class ship.  There's too much to do on the Allure, and so many free places with tasty food.  You're going to have an amazing time!

My first time on the Allure, I had a similar plan.  We decided late in the game to spend extra on alcohol/drinks a-la-carte, two shore excursions, and the Chef's Table.  I also spent some money at the casino, but came away $100 ahead!

Our post cruise bill for all involved:

Chef's Table for 2: $200 (well worth every penny)

Excursions: $450 (fun)

Casino: -$100 😄 (winnerwinner!)

Alcohol/Drinks: $1,050 😵 (oops)

The extra money paid certainly enhanced my cruise, but I would have still enjoyed it had I decided not to spend anything extra.  Hope this helps!

 

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