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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-02-2014, 06:46 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 21
Default First time Royal cruiser
I'm long time cruiser but a first time cruiser on Royal Caribbean. We leave on April 5th on the Explorer of the sea, I am going to feel like fish out of water after 9 cruises on Carnival. I do have a few questions I hope someone can help me with because their website is not really user friendly.

1. I could not find what the daily gratuity charge is per person is.

2. I was looking at the beverage packages, how many drinks would I have to have per day for the $65.00 package to be a good deal?

3. This is only a 5 day cruise which specialty restaurants should I try.

I'm sure in the next month I will have some more questions but this is it for now.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 03-03-2014, 08:54 AM
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The Royal Caribbean website is often held up as an example of poor design and non-answers. For example, under their FAQ for gratuities you find a dozen or more answers about the automatic gratuities but never a mention of how much they charge. They charge $12 per person/per day. $14.25 per day if you are in a Grand Suite or higher level suite.

The $65 drink package covers a lot of beverages, but bear in mind they are really just adding specialty coffees and tea (not sure what specialty tea is) to the $55 package. So, if you are more concerned with alcohol and sodas then the $55 package would make more sense. It is surprisingly easy to rack up $55 a day (and by the way, that amount includes the 15% bar tip), without really drinking that much. A 16 ounce beer (Royal sells most beers in 16 ounce aluminum bottles) costs $6.64 with the tip. A mixed drink is anywhere from $6 to $10. A glass of wine is around $8 to $10. Bear in mind the packages do not include all liquors, wines, or beers. The limit is also at the $10 mark but you only get charged for the amount over the $10 limit. Unlike Carnival, Royal Caribbean has no daily maximum number of drinks you can get with a package. Here's a hint: either buy the package online before the cruise, or wait until the ship leaves New Jersey and is in international waters. If you buy it on the ship while in Cape Liberty they will have to charge NJ sales tax. In summary, to answer your question, you'd probably need to have at least 6 to 8 alcoholic drinks per day to get your money's worth. Again, it depends on what you drink. Most people are better off just ordering per drink and not bothering with the packages.

Explorer does not have all the specialty restaurants found on other Royal ships. It has Portofino's and Johnny Rockets hamburgers. Explorer goes into the shipyard for upgrades this fall, where many new places will be added. The dining room and Windjammer are fine though.

I think you will find Carnival and Royal Caribbean are very similar in most areas.
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Old 03-03-2014, 03:07 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Thanks Dave

I'm glad it wasnít me I was looking all over for the right answer but your right they have a long list of Q & A but really donít cover much.

As for the drink package I donít think my wife and I can drink enough together to justify even the $55.00 per day.

I am looking forward to another cruise experience canít wait.

A few more questions, Iím traveling with a group of 10 can we call Portofinoís on board and make reservations or should we do it before hand?

Lastly, do you have a place in Bermuda you would suggest for dinner or lunch. We are there overnight so I wanted to taking in the night life for a change.
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Old 03-03-2014, 04:39 PM
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Akatzwaa...If it's fine dining You want to try...Mad Hatters on Richmond Rd in Hamilton seems to have it down quite well...It can be expensive...Wine can be costly too!! Worth a run for Dinner plus drinks!!! Allow $50pp+, Specials are more reasonable!!! If it's Lunch...Hop on over to The Swizzle Inn...a perennial Bermuda Favorite!!!

Bon Voyage,

BillyBuzzy
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Old 03-03-2014, 05:04 PM
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If you want to seat a party of 10 at Portofino's I'd wait until I boarded the ship, and then go to Portofino's and arrange it in person. And I'd also do that as a priority after I boarded. You'll likely be up in the Windjammer for lunch anyway, and Portofino's is right there as you enter the Windjammer. They'll be staffing the desk to take reservations. If you do it online it could be a mess with 10 people, especially if you are not all in the same booking.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:33 PM
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I will be getting on the Explorer as you're stepping off. We'll only be in Bermuda from 8 to 4. It sure is a nice place to overnight.
I tthink you will find Royal very similar to most of the main stream lines. Just try to enjoy it for what it is rather than comparing it to Carnival.
I've found that the crossing from NJ to Bermuda tends to be pretty choppy, just be prepared!
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:20 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
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Question Question for Dave
We are living on Freedom of the Seas, May 25.
I love to go on excursion "Castaway at Malfini" but this is the first time Royal is not offering this excursion and when I call customer service they don't know either. I am so disappointed
because that is my favorite place. Dave, how can I find out if Royal will offer maybe this excursion once when we gat to Labadee?
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:51 AM
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They usually hold back some space for bookings on the ship, and I suspect that they hit the online booking limit for that tour, since space is limited, and can't take any more online reservations. You'll just have to see the excursion staff on embarkation day and see.
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:50 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
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Unhappy
No, they are not book. I try to get this excursion 9 months ago and they didn't have it. I am afraid that they didn't discontinue Malfina. I will be so sad because I don't like what they did with Labadee, it is same as any other island now.
Thank you Dave
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Last edited by cica; 03-05-2014 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:21 PM
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That excursion is available on my April 10 th sailing. Is it possible that you're sharing the island with another ship?
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