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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 7th, 2006, 02:22 PM
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Default Balcony Dining

Has anyone had a personal experience with the optional (for a fee) balcony dining offered aboard the Diamond Princess?

Is the food quality and menu over and above (they describe as Ultimate) the dining rooms or speciality restaurant on-board?

Any particular cautions or guidelines you can think of?

The cost is $25 for breakfast and $50 for dinner.

Any information is appreciated!
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Old July 10th, 2006, 12:21 AM
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While we haven't tried their pricy balcony meals, we certainly have dined on our balconies on every cruise except the last one (see our post on Cabin D-741 on the Diamond for an explanation of why).

What most people don't know is that you can order room service from the regular menu on any Princess ship, and they'll deliver it. you can eat it on your balcony for free.

Breakfast and lunch are from the room service menu, which is more limited, but good, none-the-less.

However, beginning at 6 pm you can call room service and ask them to deliver that night's menu, which somebody will deliver to your cabin. Even if you know what you want to order, they do it that way. Then you call back and tell them what you want. They deliver it all at once, not in courses, but they'll set it up on the little table on your balcony and you can eat at your leisure. No charge, unless you want to give the delivery person a dollar or two tip. We select our own bottle of wine and have a very nice sunset dinner.

charlotte
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Old July 10th, 2006, 11:48 AM
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Charlotte,

What most people don't know is that you can order room service from the regular menu on any Princess ship, and they'll deliver it. you can eat it on your balcony for free.

That's correct. My understanding is that the charge is for full service -- the staff set the table on your balcony with linens and full place settings, including a centerpiece and condiments, then serve each course as you are ready for it in the same manner as in the dining room. Thus, it's a lot more elegant than standard room service. Considering the time that the staff spend providing this level of service, the amount of the charge is pretty reasonable.

Breakfast and lunch are from the room service menu, which is more limited, but good, none-the-less.

If so, that's a change from previous policy. The dining room's breakfast and lunch menus were always available from room service during the respective meal hours. On my last several cruises with Princess, the line had started delivering breakfast order forms with a fairly comprehensive list of selections that one could fill out and hang on one's door before retiring for the evening, then one's breakfast would appear during the chosen time window.

Norm.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 12:09 PM
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I'm not sure what category you book, Norm. The doorhanger forms that we had in our balcony cabin indicated continental type breakfast stuff, although they would deliver eggs and bacon or ham if asked. However, the eggs were always cold so we quit ordering them. That was in March and again in May of this year. If you book mini-suites or suites, then maybe the door hanger is different.

Just a bit more on dinner, though. We ordered salads, not soup, along with appetizers, entrees, desserts, wine and coffee. We ate the salads after the entrees since they didn't get cold sitting. The best part, we thought, was that we could do it at our leisure. I know that some people like to have others wait on them (what they call pampering), but we're not ones who like wait staff hovering over us to clear the dishes or even fetch what we might want; we feel pushed to finish and would rather just sit and enjoy the evening on our own time when we're on vacation. To us, that was much better than having a tablecloth and a flower, and the extra cost to go with it.

charlotte
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Old July 11th, 2006, 12:44 AM
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Charlotte,

I'm not sure what category you book, Norm. The doorhanger forms that we had in our balcony cabin indicated continental type breakfast stuff, although they would deliver eggs and bacon or ham if asked. However, the eggs were always cold so we quit ordering them. That was in March and again in May of this year. If you book mini-suites or suites, then maybe the door hanger is different.

I never actually used the "in-cabin breakfast" service because I find it more convenient to wander up to the buffet area when I'm reasy for breakfast. I generally do not set an alarm clock, so I get up whenever I wake up naturally. I have no idea what time this will be when I'm retiring in the evening.

Norm.
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Old July 11th, 2006, 12:51 AM
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Me, too, but I do look over the doorhangers. I walk my four miles each morning before breakfast, and after that am ready to plunk down with coffee and whatever I can grab fast--and sure don't want to have to wait for roomservice to deliver if I've misjudged.

I think we've pretty well covered this topic, don't you?

Charlotte
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Old July 11th, 2006, 10:38 PM
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On the Caribbean Princess you cannot order dinner from the dining room menu.

Here is the menu for the Ultimate balcony dinner. (PDF file)

http://www.cruisingthecaribbeanprincess.com/UBD.pdf

Bill
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Old July 11th, 2006, 11:02 PM
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Have you tried? They push that ultimate dining thing that costs more, but my information is that they will still send up a regular menu, if asked, and deliver the meal through room service at no charge.

However, there are no white linens, flowers, or service course-by-course; it's all delivered at once and set up on whatever table happens to be on your balcony or in your room. Additionally, wine or champagne must be paid for, but it comes to a lot less that way than the Ultimate Dining Experience.

charlotte
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Old July 14th, 2006, 12:53 PM
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no I haven't tried. If the policy is that they won't deliver room service from the dinner menu, I'm not going to try.
I'll just go the Caribe Cafe or the dining room if I want to eat.
The only way you are SUPPOSED to be able to get dining room room service off the menu delivered is if you are in a full suite.

Bill
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Old July 14th, 2006, 01:02 PM
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Princess Cruises offers through Ship Services, and for a fee of $25 breafkast and $50 dinner the option to have dinner served on your balcony ... it's something to consider. They don't have any information on their web-site ... but read above another poster has a great web-site and also a menu for this on his personal web-site.

Princess does not know much about this if you call them ... and even I as a travel consultant didn't know much about it at all .. until all of you provided feed back ...

This is not to be confused with normal room service deliveries.

THANK YOU everyone for your responses ....!!!!! Especially SS Oceanlover
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Old July 14th, 2006, 06:29 PM
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Yes, there is some confusion in the conversation. There's the added charge special dinner that is being pushed, but not all the time; it's only on sea days when they think they have time to devote a waiter to a few cabins for course-by-course service.

Then there's the regular room service. For regular room service you have a few options. First, for breakfast, there is the door hanger stuff; the door hanger is put on your pillow every night, you check off what you want, and it's delivered within a 15 minute period. SEcond, there is the room service menu that's in the binder on your desk/dressing table. Third, anybody in any stateroom can call the room service number and ask them to send up that night's menu. They will bring it up; if they weren't supposed to do that, they wouldn't. After they bring it up, you call back down and order, and they'll tell you how long before it will be delivered. It's all delivered at once, and you can either eat in your room or on your balcony. If you've not tried this and want to dine privately, don't be shy; just call room service and ask.

Charlotte
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Old July 15th, 2006, 12:29 AM
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Charlotte,

If you've not tried this and want to dine privately, don't be shy; just call room service and ask.

Yes, asking is the key. It's amazing what will happen on a Princess ship -- usually with no additinal charge -- if a passenger simply asks. In fact, the line's policy before the merger of operations with Carnival Corporation was that no member of the staff could refuse a request from a passenger without first bringing the request to his or her supervisor. The result was that if one asked for anything -- even if in jest -- it usually happened.

"Be careful for what you ask. You just might get it." -- sage advice about prayer, but equally applicable to cruising.

Norm.
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