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Restaurant Row

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Right off the bat, let’s make it clear, this piece is not talking about how you’re going to have to row to help power the ship, while you’re dining.

In pretty much every city in the world, there are “restaurant rows”; streets, or blocks of an area, where one can virtually go door to door to many different restaurants.

Last night we went out for dinner with friends, at a restaurant on one of these restaurant rows in our city.  It might seem counterintuitive that it’s a good idea to have so many competitors, in the same business, located right next to each other. But, back just a few years, when I was in that business, my philosophy was – “people beget people”; drawing more people to the area, perhaps creating a larger base of potential customers.

Traditionally cruise ships have offered more limited dining options. Less than a decade ago the standard for cruise ships was to offer a main dining room, a buffet restaurant for casual dining, and perhaps one, maybe two, alternate restaurants which were more “upscale”, and for which they charged customers an extra fee.

This past November I wrote about the more recent movement to offering more dining choices,  and how successfully this transition is being accepted by cruisers.

This was a path first ventured into by Norwegian Cruise Line, and extended even further once Epic, Getaway, and Breakaway began sailing. With those ships, the traditional cruise ship dining room has begun to disappear.

Now, with Royal Caribbean’s recent announcement that their newest ship. Quantum of the Seas, under construction (and due to sail next fall) will have no main dining room (as we’ve been used to), it appears the path set by Norwegian’s moves is going from path to a likely road map that more cruise lines will follow.

I don’t think any of us should be surprised to see, as more new builds come out of shipyards, and more older ships undergo significant upgrading, that dining rooms will slowly fade away. More and more, we’ll see land-like restaurant rows appear on ships.

There was something comfortable about the traditional dining room system, where your assigned table and service team were waiting for your arrival each evening. With the changes coming, just like on land, you’re going to have to do some meal planning; choosing restaurants, making reservations, or taking your chances on walking in the door, and perhaps  waiting for a table at the more popular restaurants.

And, of course, as you’re walking to your restaurant of choice one evening, you’re likely to see some others that seem a more popular choice, because they are packed with people.  Then, you’re going to want to try and get in to that one for your next meal.

The choices available will be very impressive. But, giving thought to, and making reservations in advance will definitely become a more important part of your pre-cruise check list.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –






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Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time May 21, 2014 at 3:59 am

I for one do not see the main dining room fading away, at least not on the decent cruise lines, ones that pride themselves on the fine cuisine they offer in the MDR.

I dare to use the term decent, which pares them away from the bottom type feeders, those cruise lines that micro wave and use boil-in bag and otherwise, catered food that is prepped on board, NOT concocted and carefully cooked, presented and served.

I enjoy the alternate dining venues on some cruise lines, and why not. However, if I frozen, reheated and basically chain restaurant quality served on my ship during my cruise, I will stay home, actually, I will avoid said cruise line(s) like the plague.

I recall many, many once exclusive items that were served on cruise ships in the past, and indeed in wonderful land based restaurants, only to have found them copied and sitting in the frozen cases at the local supermarket.

Check out your super Wal Mart frozen foods, look at he chain food crap sold there, look at the ingredients, all that artificial crap, then look at the sodium and sugar levels. Impressed, huh? Don’t be.

The cruise lines are giving the passenger exactly what they want. And, that is not a bad thing.

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