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CK when we have the ultimate dining package?

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My husband and I head out on Allure in 8 days. As this is our 10 year anniversary and our last cruise before we plan to start bringing our little kids with us, we decided to both upgrade to a JS and go for the ultimate dining package so we can try all of the restaurants. I'm wondering if it is still worthwhile to try dinner one night at CK since we already have the ultimate dining package. So, I guess my question is, would you rather dine at one of the specialty restaurants or at CK? Is it worth experiencing once?

Thanks for your help!

Maggie

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I personally love CK so my opinion is biased. It is definitely worth the try. When we have access to it we don't even bother with the specialty restaurants because CK is a specialty restaurant in itself. We only made an exception on Harmony because we had not tried Wonderland yet and the Truffle pasta from Jamie's was calling me months in advance.  Also you cannot beat the views from CK.  There is no other specialty restaurant that can compete with that. Dining while having a clear view of the sunset every night. Perfect. The quality of food in CK is also comparable to any specialty restaurant.  In March we are going on Anthem for 8 nights and we are planning to eat there every night. 

Congrats on the 10 year anniversary! Cruising with the kids is a whole new world. The last few years we have tried to take one with them and one without them each year.

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I would definitely try the CK. We had the 5 night dining package on Ovation and really enjoyed all the specialty restaurants but still really loved the food, views, ambiance, and waiters in the CK on nights we weren’t at a specialty. 

Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary and also welcome to the blog.

 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

If you’re going to try CK and if you enjoy steak, I recommend doing CK on the first night. They have a very good filet and it is only offered on the first night 

 

9 hours ago, Sabrinaklai said:

I second that! It was the best filet on any cruise I have taken. 

Thanks for this! Now I’ll be sure to reserve CK on night one of our Anthem cruise in October, as my wife really loves a good steak and I’m also partial to a good filet. Only specialty dining we’re considering is Wonderland, I think all other nights will be CK. 

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4 hours ago, JLMoran said:

 

Thanks for this! Now I’ll be sure to reserve CK on night one of our Anthem cruise in October, as my wife really loves a good steak and I’m also partial to a good filet. Only specialty dining we’re considering is Wonderland, I think all other nights will be CK. 

Make sure you scope out the MDR dinner menu too each night because they can get you something from the MDR to eat at CK as well.  You can get the best of both worlds 🙂

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We are total novices at RC but have been on Carnival many many many times. In fact we literally got off of the Carnival Vista yesterday... we have a cruise this summer booked on the Allure but after reading the CK dinning forum im confused....on Carnival every nite you eat in one of their 3 main Dinning rooms.. you either choose early or late dinning.. they also have the Lido on Floor 10 which is an all you can eat buffet that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.. as well as a 24hr pizza place... all included in the price of the room.. less gratuities...i also will add that all the food on Carnival is amazing... is RC a similar setup or do you pay for every single meal in addition to the room price... what is CK dinning? Little help from all of you extremely knowledgable ppl would be appreciated. One ladt thing... we are on the wait list for early dinning therefore they have asigned us to my time... again confusing. Thanks in advance. 

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Hi @Geralddhacker, welcome aboard!

49 minutes ago, Geralddhacker said:

what is CK dinning?

CK is Coastal Kitchen, a restaurant unique to the Oasis and Quantum class ships. It's only available to suite guests -- Jr Suites have access for dinner only, while all other suites have access for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurant is complimentary with the room booking, no additional charge; but unlike the main dining room, you do need to make reservations for each meal you'd like to have there. So it's sort of a hybrid between a complimentary restaurant and a specialty dining venue.

 

50 minutes ago, Geralddhacker said:

is RC a similar setup or do you pay for every single meal in addition to the room price

RC is the same as Carnival -- there is a Main Dining Room and also a buffet (called Windjammer) that are both included in the price of your cruise fare. There are also several other dining options on every ship that are complimentary, ranging from coffee shops and deli-type venues; to hot dog stands and pizza places; to Ben & Jerry's ice cream, chocolatiers, and cupcake shops.

In addition to these restaurants, the ships have from a few to many different specialty dining restaurants that have an additional charge. Prices range from $20-$30 for "lower end" restaurants like Giovanni's Table or Chops Steakhouse, to $50 or more for the "high end" gourmet venues like Wonderland, 150 Central Park, or Izumi Teppanyaki.

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1 minute ago, Geralddhacker said:

We are total novices at RC but have been on Carnival many many many times. In fact we literally got off of the Carnival Vista yesterday... we have a cruise this summer booked on the Allure but after reading the CK dinning forum im confused....on Carnival every nite you eat in one of their 3 main Dinning rooms.. you either choose early or late dinning.. they also have the Lido on Floor 10 which is an all you can eat buffet that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.. as well as a 24hr pizza place... all included in the peice of the room.. less gratuities... is RC a similar setup or do you pay for every single meal in addition to the room price... what is CK dinning? Little help from all of you extremely knowledgable ppl would be appreciated. One ladt thing... we are on the wait list for early dinning therefore they have asigned us to my time... again confusing. Thanks in advance. 

Welcome to the message boards!

Apologize in advance for a long winded post but hoping to make dining less confusing for you.

I've sailed Carnival a bunch.  Dining options similar on RC.

On Royal they have multiple Main Dining Rooms and you are assigned to one of them just like on Carnival.  It will be printed on your SeaPass card.

You have a choice of early seating or late seating just like Carnival.

You also have the option of "My Time Dining" which is sort of like Carnival's "AnyTime Dining".  It is still within a Main Dining Room but you can eat at different times each night.  One important difference is that Royal allows you to make reservations for My Time Dining if you wish to.   With My Time Dining I can reserve 6pm on day 1, 7:30pm on day 2, 6pm on day 3, 8pm on day 4 and so on.  Based on itinerary or entertainment on board this allows much more flexibility.  On Royal when you visit the My Time Dining room there is a line for guests with reservations and a line for guest without a reservation.  

When I sailed Carnival I tended to select AnyTime Dining.  If I went during peak times I would often wait 20 - 30 minutes for a table.   

I now always select My Time Dining on Royal but I make reservations in advance before sailing.  If a day in port ends at 6pm maybe I'll choose a 7pm dinner reservation for that day.  If there is an ice skating show at 5pm maybe I'll make a 6:15pm dinner reservation that night.

On Royal I could just show up to My Time Dining without a reservation and like with AnyTime on Carnival the wait time will be what ever it is at that moment. 

On Quantum and Oasis class ships guests who booked in a suite cabin have another dinner option in a suite-only restaurant - Coastal Kitchen.  Guests in Grand Suites and above can eat all three meals a day in CK.  Guests in Junior Suites can only eat dinners at CK.  Non-suite guests can not eat at CK.  Suite guests don't have to eat at CK, they can eat in the Main Dining Room just like all other guests.

Beyond the Main Dining Room comparison,  Carnival has the Lido Marketplace buffet.  Royal has the Windjammer Cafe buffet.  Slightly different in implementation but the same basic concept. 

Royal ships usually have other smaller dining options such as a Cafe Promenade or Park Cafe.  These are also included in your cruise fare and feature sandwiches and lighter options.  Some ships like Allure have a Dog House (hot dogs and similar) also included.  Johnny Rockets is a land based hamburger joint found in some states and most Royal ships have a Johnny Rockets which is NOT included in the cruise fare except at breakfast.

Most Carnival ships have a steakhouse which costs extra.  Some newer Carnival ships have other extra cost restaurants.  Royal ships also have "specialty restaurants"  that cost extra.  Royal tends to have more than just a steakhouse when it comes to these extra cost options.  Chops Grille is a steakhouse.  Giovani's table or Jamie's Italian have an Italian theme.  Izumi is a sushi restaurant and on some ships like Allure Izumi also offers a Teppanyaki dinner option.  I've been to many Japanese Steakhouses (Teppanyaki) on land and my experience at Izumi on Allure was one of the best I've had even compared to land based restaurants.  Sabor on some ships has a Mexican theme.  150 Central Park is a fantastic restaurant if you ever ever get the chance.  The Ultimate Dining package that the OP mentioned allows you to eat exclusively at only specialty restaurants if you so choose.  There are other dining packages offered in advance and on board where you can buy one, two, three or more nights of dining in speciality restaurants.  

Royal ships have Sorrento's Pizza.  It isn't located within the buffet where you usually find pizza on Carnival.  Sorrento's is usually in the Promenade on Royal.  It doesn't tend to be 24 hours but 'late' closing in the wee hours of the night based on each ship's choice.  This concerns some Carnival cruisers but I never ate pizza at 3am on Carnival and I've never tried to on Royal.   In fact I don't think I've eaten in the middle of the night anytime in my life.   

You don't have to spend more money to eat in specialty restaurants if you don't want to.  The Main Dining Room is included in your cruise fare.  I've cruised many times and never paid a dime for extra cost meals and still had great food.  Yes there will be crew offering specialty dining purchases on board.  If you are not interested, just say 'no thanks'.  The specialty restaurants I have tried are very good.  Sometimes to celebrate a special occasion or if I am just in such a mood I'll splurge and enjoy a specialty restaurant.  

In addition to dining, while Carnival delivers the daily "FunTimes" newsletter to your cabin, Royal has a "Cruise Compass" newsletter delivered to your cabin each day.  At the very top of this page you will see a link for Cruise Compass.  There you can filter by ship and look over the Cruise Compass that previous guests have kept and scanned in.  This will give you an idea what to expect for your upcoming cruise.  There is a lot going on around Allure and you may want to bring a highlighter to find and note those things that interest you each day.  

 

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45 minutes ago, Geralddhacker said:

Dude that was beyond awesome!!! Any other tips at all would be appreciated. 

Thanks.

Go to the main page for this site www.RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com and in the top right is a search box.  Search for 'first time' and you'll see lots of blog entries from the creator of this site @Matt.  He has recorded podcasts as well that are very informative. Those aren't just for first time cruisers but also for 'new to Royal' cruisers.

I could go on and on and hijack this thread from the OP but honestly Matt has covered just about everything in his blog posts so spend some time going through this site.  It has an abundance of information all things Royal.  No he doesn't work for Royal, he is just a cruiser like us.  

Enjoy your cruise, I loved Allure.      

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I haven't done the CK since they changed their menu last year. I'm on Anthem next month. My plan is to eat in the CK on the first night to get the filet.  I've sourced the menus for the CK. There are some nights we'll eat in CK, others we'll do specialty.

 

This will be my first cruise ever in which I do not step foot in the MDR. We will also be taking @Matt's idea of doing a "pre-dinner" with the little one either at the Jammer or Johnny Rockets and then we'll deposit her at Adventure Ocean while my wife, friend and I go off to enjoy our adult time.

 

 

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8 hours ago, constable145 said:

 then we'll deposit her at Adventure Ocean while my wife, friend and I go off to enjoy our adult time.

Lol!  I love the choice of wording there!  I would love to know what you think of CK on Anthem because we'll be dining there in March.  Actually, we decided the opposite and booked all nights in CK this time.  Just curious, how did you get the menu for CK ahead of time.  Was that what you meant my "sourced out"?

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7 hours ago, Sabrinaklai said:

Lol!  I love the choice of wording there!  I would love to know what you think of CK on Anthem because we'll be dining there in March.  Actually, we decided the opposite and booked all nights in CK this time.  Just curious, how did you get the menu for CK ahead of time.  Was that what you meant my "sourced out"?

Day1 https://www.flickr.com/photos/...70/in/album-72157680203280056/

Day 2 https://www.flickr.com/photos/...80/in/album-72157680203280056/

Day 3 https://www.flickr.com/photos/...80/in/album-72157680203280056/

Day 4 https://www.flickr.com/photos/...90/in/album-72157680203280056/

Day 6 https://www.flickr.com/photos/...90/in/album-72157680203280056/

Day 7 https://www.flickr.com/photos/...70/in/album-72157680203280056/

Day 8 https://www.flickr.com/photos/...00/in/album-72157680203280056/

Day 9 https://www.flickr.com/photos/...60/in/album-72157680203280056/

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