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jagbirder

Yet another newbie question

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Sorry for all of these first time cruiser questions!  Things keep popping into my head as I start to plan for our upcoming cruise! 

When we arrive at port and submit our luggage, should it be secured with TSA locks or left unlocked?

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I don't put any valuables in my checked bags, that all goes in carry on.  I sincerely believe the vast majority of cruise line employees wouldn't dare attempt to steal from luggage.   When I talk to crew they've been doing this for years and love their jobs which are nothing like jobs back in their home country.  Most simply wouldn't risk it, it's just not worth it.

Almost 30 cruises and I've never had an issue with unlocked luggage.  I do lock luggage at airports though. 

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When we started as a newbie I had read about securing your luggage using small zip ties you can buy at any hardware store.  The thought was you could open fairly easy if asked.  But your luggage is more secure than being unlocked.  We pack a set of nail clippers in our carry on bag we board the ship with.  Security for the ship is quite a bit different than airport security. We then clip all of the ties when the bags get to the stateroom.  Anyway 6 cruises later we've never had the problem doing this.

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My turn next.  I would like to ask about Dining Pkg.  There are BOGO 2 dining pkg just $40/p.p.

But have to use 1st and 2nd night also can’t choose restaurant.?   I would like to go 150 Central Park and Izumi sushi. May be better to buy individual?  

Appreciate your advice!

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1 minute ago, J. Woody said:

My turn next.  I would like to ask about Dining Pkg.  There are BOGO 2 dining pkg just $40/p.p.

But have to use 1st and 2nd night also can’t choose restaurant.?   I would like to go 150 Central Park and Izumi sushi. May be better to buy individual?  

Appreciate your advice!

At the start of a cruise the specialty dining restaurants historically aren't as busy as they are later in the cruise once people discover them.  To help fill the restaurants on those first slow nights they came up with the BOGO 2 promotion.  

The way it works is that they assign restaurants and once on board you will find out what they have chosen for you.  That doesn't mean you are stuck with their choices.  Upon boarding you can visit any specialty restaurant and ask them what has been assigned.  Then you can request different times or restaurants to suit your wishes.  This is something you should do soon after boarding since, as you can imagine, anyone else who booked a BOGO 2 promotion will be doing the same and restaurants reservations do fill up.  

Here is a blog that @Matt wrote on specialty dining packages

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2016/01/28/spotlight-royal-caribbean-dining-packages

 

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7 minutes ago, J. Woody said:

My turn next.  I would like to ask about Dining Pkg.  There are BOGO 2 dining pkg just $40/p.p.

But have to use 1st and 2nd night also can’t choose restaurant.?   I would like to go 150 Central Park and Izumi sushi. May be better to buy individual?  

Appreciate your advice!

You can't choose the restaurant with that package. They will choose for you. But, when you get onboard and if you don't like their choices, you can switch it. Just make sure you do it as soon as you get onboard. You have to use it the first and second night. That is not switchable.

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You are given a fixed amount in a la carte restaurants per person.  I've heard the amount has changed recently so let's say it's $30 each.  You order food and if the total bill is less than your allowance you are good. If you order more than the allowance you pay the difference.   

Do pay attention to the terms and conditions in the fine print.  Depending on the ship some restaurants are not available with a dining package or there might be an additional charge for some.  Chefs Table isn't covered by dining packages for example.  

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10 hours ago, J. Woody said:

Thank you twangster and Sabrinaklai!! If I get my choice of Izumi, where is available a,la.carte price, how does it work for dining Pkg ?

As Twangster said, the a la carte restaurants give you a fixed amount towards your meal.  For Izumi, that amount USED to be $50 PP so for a party of you, you had $100 to spend which was awesome.  They have recently reduced that per person amount to $35 so it's not nearly the bargain it used to be.  This allotment is for food only.  Beverages (except for what is complimentary of course) are extra and not covered by the $35 allotment.

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Never locked mine. Sometimes I think about smuggling booze on the ship just for the sport of seeing if they would catch it. I have no problem buying alcohol on the ship, and don't mind the alcohol pricing. This would be just for fun. But I've never done it. However, if I did, I might secure an small interior part of my luggage. You'd probably still get called to the naughty room. We wound up down there on our last cruise. Not because of locked suitcases or contraband, but because we were concerned about a missing piece of luggage. (which showed up, by the way). They had huge bins of contraband and dangerous extension cords (They are a fire hazard), and all sorts of things I'd never think of trying to take on a cruise. Everyone was very nice. On the other hand, we weren't actually naughty!

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17 hours ago, twangster said:

At the start of a cruise the specialty dining restaurants historically aren't as busy as they are later in the cruise once people discover them.  To help fill the restaurants on those first slow nights they came up with the BOGO 2 promotion.  

The way it works is that they assign restaurants and once on board you will find out what they have chosen for you.  That doesn't mean you are stuck with their choices.  Upon boarding you can visit any specialty restaurant and ask them what has been assigned.  Then you can request different times or restaurants to suit your wishes.  This is something you should do soon after boarding since, as you can imagine, anyone else who booked a BOGO 2 promotion will be doing the same and restaurants reservations do fill up.  

Here is a blog that @Matt wrote on specialty dining packages

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2016/01/28/spotlight-royal-caribbean-dining-packages

 

I spoke to Royal Caribbean about this just last night. In my case, we only like Chops. We also want to be in the main dining hall on night two, which is usually a formal night. That means we are annoying, picky passengers. So, in order to pull off the three meal package, I'd spend some time trying to get things fixed the way we want them right after getting on the ship. For us, it wasn't worth it, and we booked Chops separately when we wanted it, even though the third meal would be something like only 10 bucks more. I would rather have things the way I want them, within reason. If you are a little flexible, I actually think the multiple night options are a great bargain. Save that money for boat drinks.

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8 hours ago, J. Woody said:

When I purchase dinner pkg, should I call and cancelled Main Dining each time ?

If you mean My Time Dining reservations, then yes. 

If you have traditional dining, then there's nothing to do.

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56 minutes ago, Rayma said:

One newbie question more! If I have the ultimate dining package, is it possible to use the 35$ ala carte credit in the main dining room for the upcharge items?

Wow, there's a question I've never seen before !  No idea, myself.  Probably not though since the MDR is not a specialty restaurant

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5 hours ago, Matt said:

If you mean My Time Dining reservations, then yes. 

If you have traditional dining, then there's nothing to do.

Thank you Matt.  Yes it mean traditional dining.  So we just skip for that day and coming to the other day correct ??

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9 minutes ago, J. Woody said:

Thank you Matt.  Yes it mean traditional dining.  So we just skip for that day and coming to the other day correct ??

If you happen to be seated at a larger table with other guests, I've heard it's still good to let the MDR know you won't be there that night. This is so that the others at the table aren't kept waiting for all expected guests to arrive before the wait staff starts taking orders and bringing out meals.

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2 hours ago, Rayma said:

One newbie question more! If I have the ultimate dining package, is it possible to use the 35$ ala carte credit in the main dining room for the upcharge items?

Unfortunately not.  Neat idea, but the UDP doesn't work that way.

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I personally would not travel without having suitcases locked. We put them on when we are through packing them and then take them off when they get to our cabin...and reverse when the cruise is over. All valuables and meds are in my carryon but we just feel comfortable when they are locked. We got the TSA approved ones at Amazon...very simple to use.

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Ive never locked mine but have also used the zip ties.  Just make sure you have the nail clippers in your carry on...mine were in the outside pocket of the one suitcase that arrived after dinner.  It was interesting trying to figure out how to get them open!  Jane

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