Choosing what I am going to have for dinner that day or even the following day is hard enough for me, but having the option to book and choose 394 days in advance, and with up to 18 restaurants to choose from is just too much for me to deal with. I have just heard from Royal Caribbean that I am now able to pre-book my restaurants for my 3 nights cruise on Anthem of the Seas which is departing on the 24th October 2015 (yes that does say 2015 and not mean’t to be for 2014). How can people be organised enough to be able to decide that far in advance?
Curiosity got the better of me so I have logged into my countdown to cruise and clicked on the option to pre-book my dining, this then took me into my cruise planner where I was then presented with a screen that at the top said “sorry we can not reserve this right now please try again whilst on board”, so far not at all looking promising and most people would have viewed that and then just logged off. However scrolling down the screen I am then presented with 12 of the restaurants and the option to add them to my cart (but how can I add them to my cart if the top of the screen says i can not reserve anything right now? – very confused already and bearing in mind I deal with these cruise planners for other people on a daily basis so this is not something that should be difficult for me)
Under each restaurant I then see a brief description of the style of the restaurants and also the cost so whether its one of the complimentary restaurants or if there is an additional charge – but where will I find the menu for each one ? The only button I can click on is to add to cart, but knowing my partner is a fussy eater I need to know whats on the menu. In my frustration I then decide to just start clicking randomly and found that if you then click on the photo of the restaurant it will then take you into another screen where a full description of the restaurant comes up and includes dress code, what meals are served, any restrictions, and also the style of the food served along with a link for a sample menu. This page does seem to be quite informative but for me it is still to much to think about 13 months before departure.
On the first night on board it will be my partners birthday so I know if I was to book Silk which is the Asian Restaurant – with a menu inspired by Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Indian cooking, that I might be on to a winner then. So I clicked on the add to cart button (still bearing in mind the top of the screen says I can’t reserve anything right now) I am then presented with a screen and I have to click on both of our names, I then have the option of booking a date and time. At the moment all the times are available (as nobody else obviously knows 394 days in advance what and where they want to eat). I select the date and time, click on add to the cart and hey presto its booked and an email then gets delivered and also appears in the cruise countdown as a dining reservation.
This will be the only restaurant that I am going to pre-book, the other nights can wait until at least a month in advance (and even that’s too early). Luckily I am only on a 3 night cruise – how can someone on a longer itinerary know what they would want or where to dine every night on the cruise before they have even boarded? I know Royal Caribbean do suggest making dinner reservations in advance as some venues will be popular and might not be able to accommodate your table – but surely not 394 days in advance.
When you are on board do you use the specialty restaurants where there is a cover charge or do you dine in the complimentary venues? How early would you start pre-booking your restaurants?
p.s I still haven’t decided what to have for dinner tonight yet and won’t until I head to the fridge/freezer/takeaway menu drawer until I have switched off the laptop and finished work.