I have been on 4 cruises and have booked my 5th, and I love to cruise but there is one thing that bothers me.....the menu for dinner. I realize that it should be upscale and nice but how about only on formal nights.......I see many many people who avoid the dining room because the food is too fancy. How about a more normal menu....not like the buffet, but not as fancy as the Ritz. My family is going this time, granddaughter 13, and son who is 24......and I know it will be buffet for almost every evening. I would like to be able to sit in a dining room and be served dinner, but can't put them at the mercy of choosing food that I know they will not enjoy and ordering makes them uncomfortable. In years past I could see it, but we have a more middle class (that's me) of cruisers now and that fancy is not for alot of people. I'll bet there are a million opinions about this....so lets hear 'em.
From what I hear, they always have a chicken or steak choice that isn't on the menu. You can always try them out!!
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He's right steak or chicken is always an option. Personally I didn't find it all that fancy, I mean I compare to being served dinner at a wedding or something. It can't be all that fancy when they are preparing meals for 2 to 3 thousand people. And anyway I'm on vacation why not do something a little different. Just my two cents. Happy cruising!
My opinion is just that it can be that way on formal nights, and I realize that you can order steak or chicken....but nowhere does it say that, so how many people actually realize it. I am not looking for downhome cooking, just a few dishes that I also see at mid-level range land restaurants.
I really like the more dressy upscale tone of being in the formal dining room and honestly I'd be disappointed if I could only experience that on formal nights. Part of the reason I chosse to cruise is that I can try all of those sometimes uncommon but usually delicious meals. I would never have ordered escargot at a regular restaurant, for fear that I wouldn't like it, however I am more adventurous on a cruise because I know if I don't like it, I can simply order something else. But all of us have different tastes and expectations out of our cruising experiences. Life would be so mundane and boring if we were all the same. That being said, I think you may be able to find a happy medium that makes you and your family happy. There are items that can be ordered that are not on the menu such as chicken and steak as the previous poster mentioned. For people who like hot dogs, burgers, chicken strips and fries etc... those can also be requested. On our most recent Carnival Cruise I was able to order those items for my children who have not yet developed a taste for beef wellington and other more sophisticated fare. Although my two year old would fight you for a steak lol! I think too, that some folks don't always enjoy going through the effort of getting dressed out of their beach/pool or comfy fun in the sun clothes to go to dinner in the dining room, You might also check out NCL's freestyle dining to see if that suits your family better. If you have a quick discussion with your waiter the first night of the cruise to see what options are available, you'll find something that makes everyone happy. I think you'll find your wait staff will bend over backwards to please you. Just express your needs and I am sure they'll help you find a solution. Hope you have a great cruise.
I for one would be pretty upset if the menu consisted of items like chopped steak, pork chops, fried chicken, and hamburger patties or hot dogs with mac and cheese! There are choices like that which you can order if you wish but many of us want to have the nicer dishes that we just don't bother to often prepare at home.
You might be surprised with children and grandchildren. My son is a pretty picky eater, but LOVED the dining room and never wanted to eat the buffet for dinner. For me, part of the cruising experience is the wonderful food in the dining room. But yes, if you want food that is more on the plain side, I would go to the buffet.
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i am personally looking forward to the different varieties and menu options for our first cruise. I look forward to trying new and different items that i wouldn't ordinarly try. And NO i would NOT like the fancies just for formal night. Bring them on. If it's too fancy or rich i know i could always order the steak or chicken.
I'm just going to reiterate what people seem to have already said, but here's my take on it anyway. When we cruised last November, we ate in the dining room every night. My grandparents are picky eaters, and get turned off by the names of things. They wanted nothing to do with steak "in a brandy cream sauce". They just wanted steak. So I made sure they ordered everything plain, and they were very pleased.
We also had my younger siblings along, who were able to order pasta or chicken or steak, so they were happy.
My husband, brother, and mother and I loved eating new things that we normally couldn't get at home, so WE were happy.
We got some great pictures of everyone dressed up on formal night, and a vacation full of memories that we can keep for the rest of our lives.
I would suggest trying to get your family into the dining room and testing it out. Remember that you can order something that isn't explicitly on the menu, that's the beauty of cruising.
I love my wife's meatloaf. Her grilled,fried or baked pork chops are great. I even enjoy the BBQ smoked sausage, and chicken and steak sprinkled with creole seasoning is fantastic. However, one of the things my wife and I look forward to on cruises is eating (or trying) foods we can't afford or don"t usually have available.
There are plenty of options available for people to choose on a cruise (food), but I do agree that those choices should be communicated better. I had made several cruise before I realized ( from this source) that chicken and sirloin steak is always an option.
If you tell your waiter that you don't see anything you like, he will quickly suggest the baked or broiled chicken, the sirloin strip steak, baked potato, or other veggies. You can also get most dishes w/o the sauce.
I look forward to the different entrees, and even though I do cook like that at home, I like trying the chef's version. BUT, to each their own.
They will never go to 'normal' food in the dining room. That's what the Lido Deck buffet is for - folks who either don't choose to dress for dinner, OR prefer plainer food.
I can see it now, Formal dinner, your in that ballroom dress that you paid $500 for, your hair done beautifly, you wearing $5000 worth of your finest jewlery. Your husband in his brand new tux (looking dashing, daring, and quite handsome). You go into the dining room and order FISHSTICKS WITH FRENCH FRIES!!!!!!!!!!
The have been a lot of nites that I wanted a lite dinner in the dinning room, so ordered a started, salad and asked for a vegie platter, and they always brought out an assortment of steamed veggies with a baked potato. Made me a happy camper. Katie
I would second what many of the posters have said. If your family does not like the "fancy" food, they can always order a steak. There is also a children's menu which has pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. When we recently took a family group of 14 (ages 75 - 8) we would ask the waiter to bring children's menus as well as regular menus. The younger ones would pick and chose off both menus to make sure that they had something they liked. I would have hated them to miss the dining experience as well as the "entertainment" from the staff.
When discussing the cruise our family made the decision that everyone would be free to do what they wanted but we would always meet in the dining room and enjoy our evening meal as a family. The kids always knew that they could always hit the pizza place after dinner if they were still hungry.
Thanks for everyones opinion....they were very enlightening with the exception of CRUISEGUY.....I knew someone had to get a childish comment in.
Now that we are aware that they are offered an alternative I think the dining room will be more enjoyable.
I would hate to see the menu "Normalized". Part of the fun is trying different foods you might not normally order but have the safety net of being able to send it back and get something different if you don't like it without.
I pretty much agree that it would be disappointing to have "normal" food in the dining room. We love dining in the formal dining room. This past Jan we finally took all the kids with us on a Carnival cruise. I have 4 children, 3 twelve and under, of whom did not look forward to the "stuffy" meal. We had considered letting the 3 younger dine with Camp Carnival kids in the cafe buffet, but decided that they should try out the "fancy" dining room. We all were so happy we did. We enjoyed the food, the kids tried new things and knew that if they didn't like it, our fantastic waiters would bring them chicken nuggets, pizza, burgers or hot dogs. In addition, the dining room is so much fun: the waiters do a song and dance nearly every evening (bring those cameras!). Tthe kids found that you can eat an elegant meal or at least eat a "normal" meal elegantly and have great fun. We still talk about those waiters!