I am going to Alaska on Vision of the Seas in June. This is my first cruise and I'm concerned about the "extra charges." How do you know if the food is free? Is the buffet open 24/7? Is room service available 24/7? Is it free? HELP!
Well, none of the food is free. You paid for it! But the difference between what is included in the cruise fare and what incurs an additional charge is really not that hard. The food in the main dining rooms and at the buffet areas is included in your cruise. Dinner in the specialty restaurants aboard the ship will incur a per person cover charge. Since these require a reservation you will not accidently stumble upon something that unknowingly will cost you extra.
Room service is included in your cruise too, but the persons delivering your order should be tipped for each time they come to your cabin. A couple of dollars is typical.
Room service is generally 24/7 from a set menu which you will find in your cabin. Room service hours are limited on embarkation and debarkation day. The buffet areas are virtually 24/7 although there are typically a few hours of lull in the early morning hours prior to breakfast service.
Also, the sodas in the mini-bar are $1.50 plus gratuity (18%). Water, iced tea, lemonade, coffee and hot tea are included in the restaurants, but if you want a soda, you will pay by the glass. If you like soda, you may want to get a pass (about $7 a day). On Mariner there was a Ben & Jerry's ice cream bar that had an additional charge, as did the capuccino bar.
Alcoholic drinks aren't included - so if you go up to one of the pool parties and they hand you a drink, they will also ask for your Sea Pass so your account can be charged. Some of the "fancy" drinks are about $9. There are some pay per view movies on tv (regular channels are free). The entertainment is included, unless you want to play bingo. We played one round, but will go and watch for "free" next time.
In general, if something on your cruise costs extra, you will be asked for your Sea Pass Card.
In fact, no paper money can be used to purchase anything onboard the ship. When you purchase ANYTHING, even something as small as a candy bar in the gift shop, they will ask you for your Sea Pass Card. They will immediately afterward, give you a receipt of that particular purchase. Then on the final morning when you disembark, all the purchases you made will totaled on a sheet of paper. That paper will be slipped under your door awaiting for you to wake up and see it. You have to check it quickly and if there are errors, dispute them at the Purser's Desk right away.
There are only two circumstances when you would use paper money onboard during the cruise:
- When tipping crewmembers
- When gambling in the casino
- (actually 3, if there is a self-service
coin laundro-mat onboard and you use it)
So just remember, if they charge you extra for something:
- They will ask for your Sea Pass card
- They will then give you a receipt
- The charge will appear on your Sea Pass print-out
As for your question if the buffet and room service is 24/7. From my memory from my cruise aboard the Sovereign of the Seas, the room service was available 24/7 through out the cruise, up until disembarkation.
I saw the buffet open only during normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner times. The buffet was located in a cafeteria setting, on the pool deck at the top of the ship. There were a couple of occasions when they had midnight buffets. One night they had a midnight dessert lovers/chocolate buffet; which was held in one of the dinning rooms that they re-arranged for the buffet. IF they have something similar onboard the Vision, you should NOT miss it. The desserts and artwork (ice,sugar and chocolate sculptures) were absolutely fabulos!! They also had a midnight carribean buffet another night outdoors along the pool deck. During that buffet they had food common to the caribbean, along with caribbean music and dancing (and even a limbo contest). Since, you will be on an Alaskan cruise, they might have a different themed buffet up there. If the weather permits, I suppose.
So, I hope this could be of some help. Have a nice time on your cruise.
Hello OP? I am not sure if the original poster will come back for his answers, but we will add our two cents worth anyway. OP asked about the Vision of the Seas. The Dining Room on Vision is open seating for breakfast and lunch, and you have an assigned seating (early = 6:15 p.m.; late = 8:30 p.m.). The Windjammer is a buffet and is NOT open virtually 24/7. It is open for extended breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is a Sorrento's Cafe in the Solarium for hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza, and it usually stays open until 1:00 a.m. or so. Room service IS 24/7, but with a limited menu found in your stateroom. The previous poster gave a good tip about the special midnight buffet(s). Watch the crusie Compass for when and if they are scheduled, and arrive early to see all of the activities.
We will also be on the Vision to Alaska in June. Hope you have a good time...
Rhapsody - W. Caribbean - 2004; Rhapsody - W. Caribbean - 2005; Sovereign - Bahamas - 2005; Enchantment - Canada/NE - 2005; Rhapsody - W. Caribbean - 2006: Vision - Alaska - 2006
Navigator - E. Caribbean - 11/2006
Vision - West Coast Repo - 4/2007
Grandeur - Canada/N.E. - 9/2007
Voyager of the Seas -"R"W. Caribbean - 1/2008