I am new on here today after googling cruise forums and would just like a bit of general info, and after reading a certain post on here my mind putting at rest!
My husband and I (he 47 I am 33) have just booked our first cruise. 11 days on Independence of the Seas around the canaries from Southampton.
We booked with First Choice and were told it was full board. Since then I have seen posts from people saying there are $25 cover charges to eat in the restaurants, no way to top up your on board sea pass with cash it has to be card only, awful food, need i go on?
This is a holiday of a lifetime for us and although I don't believe alot of what i have read I am of course a little worried!
Any advice, help, correct info or direction to more information would be very much appreciated as you all appear to be very frequent cruisers!
Thank you in anticipation for your help and understanding
I think you can stop worrying. The $25 cover charges are only for the "specialty" restaurants (Chops which is their steakhouse and Portofinos which is a fine dinning experience). There are no charges for the main dinning rooms (which is by and far a very fine dinning experience) or for their buffet service area and many other food venues on the ship. So you don't HAVE to spend $25 to eat. Many people do eat at Chops just for the experience. If you are a steak lover, the $25 is well worth the price for at least one dinner during your cruise. But you do need to make a reservation the first day because the choice dinning times go quickly.
I have never tried to use cash to back up my sea pass account on RCCL. I have done it on Carnival. I will defer to one of the regulars on RCCL cruises for that answer. But I do not see why you wouldn't be allowed to do that. If not your option is to go to the customer service desk periodically and check you balance and make payments so that when you get off the ship you balance is $0. Just don't wait to the last night to try this as the lines at the customer service desk are very long on that night.
"Awful food" I think not. But every person's opinion is different I am sure. If someone if used to eating in 5 star restaurants everyday, then I can see maybe their opinion of the ships food can be negative. But a vast majority of people who cruise find Royal Caribbean's food to be excellent. Don't worry about it.
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I have always enjoyed the food on RCCL ships. I don't have to perpare it, serve it or clean up. I have never eaten in a specialty restaurant on board. I take the wait staff's suggestions seriously because every dish on the menu is not the absolute best but these people make it their job to know what to recommend.
Cruise reviews can be frightening. I am actually quite nervous to be traveling on Princess for the first time after reading such hateful reviews. This site is known for a more level headed approach to things from people who embrace cruising. A few posters use the site when they have an ax to grind but most of the members are just sharing information and advice.
Go with a positive attitude. Know that your dream vacation is staffed by real imperfect people with real lives who are out their just like you trying to make a living (and they are far from home and the people they love). Most of them will bend over backwards for you, whether they are lonely, exhausted, or irritated by their room mate. In other words cruising is a real world experience just like being at home. How much enjoyment you get out of it often can depend on how you choose to look at it, and how you treat the people around you.
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