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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 18th, 2001, 10:37 AM
CruiseGal
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Default Are ALL meals aboard ship included in cruise packa

I am a little confused.....My husband and I are going on this ship for the November 26th, 2001 sailing. This is our first cruise and just not sure about the dining. When you go to the Main dining (we chose the later seating) are your meals & basic beverages like coffee, tea or pop included in the cruise price? I was assuming so. However I keep reading that if you venture out to the more casual spot on the ship, like Windjammer, etc, it appears that you PAY for these meals. If this is the case, I find this so misleading. What about BREAKFAST, are you charged for that too? Or can you avoid being charged for a breakfast by going to a certain restaurant aboard the ship? What about LUNCH? A charge for that too? Also with the midnite buffet does a price tag come for that as well? I am hoping to be all wrong about this but something tells me that is NOT going to be the case........and if so the cruise lines as well as travel agents need to be more straightforward about this. Imagine the suprise to someone who boards a ship thinking everything is under one cover (cruise package price) and they did not allow for the extra. What would they even begin to do?? Even the tipping seems a bit out of had. We pay enough for the cruise and of course I am not against tipping but I would like to think for what we pay for a cruise, we should already be able to EXPECT good service and not have it dependent on how much of a tip is given. Seems to me a lot of pressure is put on guests in this area.
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Old July 18th, 2001, 12:22 PM
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Default Re: Are ALL meals aboard ship included in cruise p

The meals are included as long as you do not use the "alternative dining" . On the Radiance that would be Portifinio or Chops Grill. The main dining rooms and WIndjammer are included.
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Old July 18th, 2001, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: Are ALL meals aboard ship included in cruise p

Your post doesnt say which RCI ship you're sailing on. The Voyager, Explorer and Radiance of the Seas are the only ships that offer a seperate by reservation pay extra restaurant. All the other food facilities onboard are included in your cruise price.
As for beverages.. coffee, tea, iced tea or the like,and milk are normally available at no cost on the lido deck, or in the Windjammer Cafe. RCI offers free soft drinks in the dining room.

As for tips... its kind of like the entire service industry. If tipping was included in the cost, the costs would be much higher. At least with the present system the tipping is left to your discretion for rewarding those who serve u well!

Hope that helps give u some perspective.. any other questions.. please feel free to post.
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Kuki
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Old July 19th, 2001, 04:54 PM
BillG
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Default Re: Are ALL meals aboard ship included in cruise p

I understand that on the Radiance, at least it was the practice when we sailed on her in March, soft drinks are free in the Windjammer at mealtimes as well as in the dining room. Until RCI started offering free softdrinks in the dining rooms, we were always charged for them regardless of the ship line. So, at least in this instance, we have an added benefit. As others have already told you, except in alternative restaurants (not the casual Windjammer type dining venue), your meals are included in the price of the cruise. Most of the things which cost extra have always been additional charges - although there are some exceptions that vary by line.
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Old July 20th, 2001, 11:41 AM
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Default Re: Are ALL meals aboard ship included in cruise p

Hi Kuki,

I'm glad I'm not the only one somewhat confused by what is and isn't included on a cruise. Hubby loves to talk to I-don't-know-who and has all this information that, after reading thru these site, don't seem exactly correct to me. I understand that alcoholic beverages are extra on ship but am I right that soda served on the deck (or anywhere for that matter) is also extra? He keeps saying no but I think maybe it's yes?
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Old July 20th, 2001, 12:58 PM
BillG
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Default Re: Are ALL meals aboard ship included in cruise p

Soft drinks are an extra cost on most cruiselines regardless of where you get them, just as they are in a restaurant, hotel, and all but the all-inclusive resorts on land. On RCI however, there is no charge for soft drinks in the dining room at mealtimes. On the Radiance, and perhaps on their other ships now, there was also no charge for soft drinks in the Windjammer Cafe. Charging for soft drinks has been the custom for at least as long as I have been cruising and that goes back 31 years. RCI was the first mass market line that I am aware of that offers any free sodas. They also offer a flat-rate soda card for kids and I understand that Princess may begin to offer a flat-rate soda card for passengers regardless of age. Until that happens, RCI is the best deal for those who want sodas with their meals without having to pay.
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Old July 23rd, 2001, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: Are ALL meals aboard ship included in cruise p

CruiseGal,

Hope this information helps...my wife is a TA by the way. Your cruise cost includes accommodations, meals (beverages at meals), and entertainment (except for the Casino or possibly Bingo). Soda's outside of meal time (main dining) and if ordered through room service, you will be charged so get a Soda Card. There are personal dining on some cruise lines and they may charge you for meals or drinks, etc. What's not included is anything of personal nature: i.e. alcoholic beverages (anywhere on the ship), beauty shop, massage, gift shop, shore excursions, etc. So I think you get it.

You will know your dining time once you get on the ship. Its not normally included as part of your cruise documents. Dining preference is asked at time of booking, but is still on a request basis. I believe the earlier you book the more likely you'll get your dining choice. Late dining is usually around 8:00pm. Cruise lines pass out a daily Newsletter (usually sliped under your door) which will tells you the dining times, show times, etc. Its also tells you what is going on onboard the ship and what time to be there and where to be if you want to participate. It also lists the business hours of the beauty shop, gift shop, shore excursion desk, etc.

As far as tipping, that's up to you. Cruise brochures put in a suggested per day per person rate for each person you would tip (i.e. cabin steward, waiter, bus boy). You'd tip the wine steward if you use one and tipping teh matre'd is up to you but not necessary. Tipping is usually done at the end of the cruise (the last night). Gratituties (tips) can be pre-paid prior to sailing through your TA or you could possibly call the cruise line direct. Gratituties can be adjusted (even if pre-paid) if the service isnt as good as expected. 15% is usually added to your bar tab automatically. Personally I think that is a bit much. In my home town, if a "group" eats dinner at a restrauant then 15% is automatically is added to the bill. But for an individual or a couple having drinks, get real! I have read that the 15% is up to you and you can pay what you want. At the end of the cruise look at your bar tab and if you need to change the tip, do so. Also, if they are going to add the 15%, dont tip at the bar!...unless you want to.

Let me know if you have any other questions! More than happy to help a 1st time cruiser.
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Old July 27th, 2001, 07:36 AM
Linda Marie
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Default Re: Are ALL meals aboard ship included in cruise p

Yes, all meals are included with your cabin on all ships,except the Voyager,Explorer and Radiance of the Seas. All soft drinks,tea & coffee except espresso drinks are included with meals. Besides bars, there's also a charge for the bottled water & canned sodas that are left in your cabin.
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