Royal Caribbean Unlimited Dining Plan Guide
Royal Caribbean first introduced its unlimited dining package on cruise ships in early 2019. Basically, the package covers all specialty restaurants and gives you the option to dine as many times as you want during your cruise.
I recently purchased the package for a three day sailing on Mariner of the Seas. I would like to share some tips to maximize your experience. I bought the pre-cruise package for $ 76, this works out to just over $ 25 per day. Keep in mind that the sites are not always the same between Royal Caribbean ships, but each of my tips can still be applied to the sites in your Royal Caribbean navigation.
If you’ve ever been on the water, you know that embarkation day can be a bit hectic. Especially if you go straight to the buffet (Windjammer in this case) for lunch. What better way to start your cruise vacation than to avoid those crowds and take advantage of the unlimited dining package you have purchased?
If you are looking for a leisurely and relaxing lunch, I suggest heading straight to Chops Grille. Order a shrimp cocktail, neighborhood salad, and an 8oz filet and you’ll be on your way to getting the most out of your package.
If you’re looking to grab a drink and mingle with your friends while you have lunch, you should hit Playmakers. The atmosphere of the sports bar is ideal for socializing upon boarding. Grab some potato skins, buffalo wings, and a punch and you’ll be on your way to getting the party started!
Either option here surely beats the buffet on boarding day. If you have decided to carry your luggage on board, there is an added benefit to spending time at Playmakers. You can just put your luggage in a corner and forget about it while you hang out until your cabin is ready.
Catering specialties every evening
This tip might seem a bit logical, but it’s still worth noting. If you want to get your money’s worth, be sure to dine somewhere that would normally have a cover charge every night. Avoid the main dining room and the Windjammer buffet.
If you really want to step up your game, try dining at two specialty venues in one night. Personally, I wouldn’t, as it would take way too long in one evening. I would also need to be brought back to my cabin. I just couldn’t risk missing out on the nightlife on board!
Lunch of the day of the sea
On my particular navigation, we had no planned sea days. However, our scheduled stopover at CocoCay was canceled due to adverse wind and sea conditions. I spent most of the day on the pool deck. Hitting Johnny Rockets made perfect sense at lunchtime.
It was a short walk from my lounge chair overlooking the pool on deck 12 amidships to Johnny Rockets which is located on the same deck aft. As I already had the unlimited meal plan, this was the perfect option. Jamie’s Italian and Chops were also open for lunch on Sea Day, if that suits you better.
If you don’t have the luxury drink package and are a wine drinker, it could be a big bonus for you to book the unlimited meal package. For bottles of wine under $ 100, you will receive 40% off, and bottles over $ 100, you will receive 20% off. Personally, I don’t really drink wine and almost always get the luxury drink package so I miss that perk. Having said that, it was worth mentioning as it might be a perfect fit for someone!
If your ship has Izumi Hibachi on board, you will notice that it requires an additional $ 10 to dine here using the unlimited dining package. It may turn some people off, but it’s still a good deal in my book. The going rate for Hibachi à la carte is approximately $ 45. This means that you still have $ 10 up front in the game after the supplement when using your plan.
It’s a super fun atmosphere for dinner, and even more so if you’re in a group. Don’t let the extra $ 10 put you off and give it a try. I will add two tips. Come hungry and don’t be tempted to order a sushi roll all to yourself. I made the mistake of ordering one and was really full before my main course was even served. Don’t get me wrong it was all very good, but it was just too much food!
Although I have done other dining packages on Royal Caribbean, this was my first time doing the unlimited package. I feel like I’ve become a bit of a food snob lately, and when I saw the package for just over $ 25 a day, I felt like it was An evidence. Having experienced it on Mariner it is safe to say that I would definitely book it again.
During the three day cruise, I was able to dine at Playmakers (2 times), Chops Grille, Jamie’s Italian, Johnny Rockets and Izumi Hibachi. There was one person in our party who only joined us at Chops on the first night. Their bill was around $ 50 after the tip, so looking back it would have made sense for them to just book the package and have endless options. Also note, the package does not include the chef’s table. It is an exclusion.
Hope this overview helps you decide if the package makes sense for you, as well as create a game plan to get the most out of your package. Have you used the unlimited meal plan before? If so, what did you think? If not, do you plan to buy it on a future trip? As always, if you’re looking for more content from my cruise, you can find it at CruiseLifeMatt.com and on Instagram @CruiseLifeMatt.