We paid $25 pp March 5 cruise on Summit. We also had the coupon for 25 but then ended up leaving a big tip--service was impeccable food superb & general ambinace was elegant. We probably would not do it again --too long to just dine--way too much food & the costs add up--wine is very pricey etc etc. Nice for the experience! Actaully we also very much enjoyed the alternative dining--we had great food, service & presentatiom--staff are trainees but they really go all out to please. It is not the Normandie but also another option to break the routine on a longer cruise.
IF it's not too inquisitive on my part, what did you end up tipping? We are going to dine there on our Summit cruise (4/16), and I also have the coupon. I just want to do the right thing by way of an amout.
I guess I'm the Lone Ranger on this issue. I felt that the specialty restaurant on the Connie wasn't worth the extra $25. I thought there was less selection and that the dining room was better. If one wants super service, where they practically fall all over you, where they wear tails, then this is for you. I personally feel that specialty restaurants send the message that the regular dining room is not giving their best product, which is what cruising once all was about.
We tipped $30 cash (plus the 25 fee--we had a coupon) to cover all the services we received Also tipped $10 each night in Causua;l dining as we enjoyed that also--I do not think we' d do it again as I do not like long meals & so much attention--the food was truly great but all the pretension & lavishness was not for me..Too many courses, too much food & no doggie bags!
I'm the second one who thinks $25 plus is pushing it a bit. Especially when you add a tip. If I am not mistaken this is the highest of all the cruise lines and the choices aren't that great. What you pay for is absolutely outstanding service.
Hi, Just returned for cuise on Contellation and had a very nice dinner in the Cruise Liners Resturant. The service was flawless. Dinner itself was OK but the dessert souffle was to die for! I advise to try it. We paid $25.00 last week. Bon Appetit!
We went to the Specialty restaurant last fall on the MIllie. We went with another couple and had an enjoyable time. The serving and taking away of courses - esp the entree - was fun to watch. But we didn't think that food was any better than the regular dining room. We usually have great waiters and depend on them for suggestions,e tc. So we probably will not return to the speciality restaurant in August, unless we are with some friends that really want to try it out.
And - I'm sure I'm in the minority - but $60 for a meal for 2 is much more than we pay at home. Usually a meal anywhere close to that for us will also include cocktails and/or wine.
I do not know where you live however it is not uncommon to spend $60 for two For the record we have eaten in the Olympic and found it to be at the top of the mt. for all alternative restaurants.As a matter of fact my research in many travel magazines concurs with my opinion I have spoken with many cruisers who have indicated that they would like to have eaten there every night of the cruise.I do believe you are in the minority with your opinion.A m not sure as to how many different alternative restaurants you have been in however we have been on several cruise lines who have this service and this has been the best for food,service. presentation,and overall dining experience.Would like to hear other cruisers comment in this regard.
I'm with you Apple. $60.00 is not alot for dinner for two.
I found the food in the Normandie to be exceptional. I had the rack of lamb and it was tender enough to cut with a fork. I thought that each course was a cut above the offerings in the dinning room. Additionally, I had the impression that everything was prepared to order. I think that in the main dinning room where the are pushing out hundereds of meals in a short period of time lots of stuff is prepared in advance and then warmed up and served. In the specialty resturant where they are serving far fewer dinners they have the luxery to be able to prepare food properly
I do appreciate that everyone is entitled to an opinion on here! Some boards are not this amiable.
You're right, BIG APPLE, we don't live where the dining prices are so high. We live in the country a couple of hours west of Ft. Worth, and while we could drive over to Dallas and find the very best steak houses that price - we usually don't.
I think that it's important for people reading about cruises to know that they do have options - that if they enjoy the specialty restaurants that's great and a real bonus. But if they prefer to dine in the dining room, the food is very good there as well.
When we first started cruising, the cruiselines didn't have specialty restaurants and truly the meals were first-rate. It wasn't until we sailed in 02 that we tried one on HAL and 2 on the Golden Princess and then 1 last year as I posted earlier.
We enjoyed them all - and would not have missed the experience - but we were with new ship friends for all this occasions, and I believe that was a whole lot of our enjoyment.
I, for one, would rather the cruiselines raise the prices and go back to the days where EVERY evening was a top-notch specialty meal.
But then, isn't it wonderful that we can all have different opinions!
Costa Riviera 6/91
Regent Sun 8/92
Neui Amsterdam 10/95- NCL Seaward 8/96
Royal Odyssey 10/96 & 4/97
NCL Crown 4/98
NCL Wind 11/00
HAL Statendam 1/02 Rhapsody of the Sea 5/02
Princess Golden 8/02 Millenium 10/14/03
Constellation 8/26/04 Constellation 9/7/04
Carol,You hit it on the head as for the old days of cruising when each night the dining experience was a real treat with something prepared at your table.I can very well recall my days of travelling on Sitmar cruises who were bought out by Princess.We would have a pasta course prepared or possably an entree done at the table and aways flaming desserts.We started cruising in the late 50s out of Miami to Nassau.Followin that we made one of the last cruises on the old Nieu Amsterdam which you mention in your list.On this cruise of two weeks,we dressed every night for dinner in suits or tux.Very elegant with string music played in the loft above dining.With the ships as large as today ther is no way we can go back to these wonderful meals and the only replacement will be the alternative dining and in most cases much better than normal dining room not to saying that regular dining room is not first class.Cruisers today want casual dining However on Celebrity and Holland we still have for the most part elegant evenings where most will pay attention to the written dress code.This is another subject that I can really get on my soapbox.We are looking at arround the world cruise onHolland and my guess would be that most everyone will honor the appropriate dress code.Pulled out old invoice from the 70s and cruise was more expensive than today,however drinks ,wine etc much more resonable.Guess you trade off one for the other.Happy Cruisin
The extra charge is just part of our modern times. Cruising is so much less expensive than 10, 20 or 30 years ago. It used to be for only the upper and upper middle class, now almost everyone can plan and afford cruising as a vacation. Keeping the prices down mean making the money somehwere and the alternative dining is just one place the lines pick up big bucks . On NCL where there are serveral alternative dining establishments at much less cost we usually try at least 2 dining rooms other than the traditional ones. The $30 on Celebrtiy makes us think twice. It is true $60 is nothing for a gourmet dinner, but when we can eat for nothing extra the $30 makes us think twice. NMNita
From all the experts there is no comparison on NCL food compared to Celebrity.This includes the alternative restaurants Celebrity stands way above NCL in food and this is reported by past passengers and the numerous others to include Fodors etc.With this in mind I have no problem paying extra for a first class dining experience.Ncl is attempting to find a nitch with freestyle dining and they have a long way to go to catch up to the other major cruise lines and their first class foon presentation.
Big Apple, wasn't it just said by Carol we all have a right to our opinions. We did not find the food on Celebrity all that much better than NCLs newer ships. Was it better, dinner yes a bit, lunch in the dining room, yes, for sure; breakfast, probably not as good nor were the buffets as good. The presentation was much nicer on Celebrity. This is our opinion only, not carved in stone like your statement. Freestyle is wonderful for some, not as great for others. Your statement about NCL versus other lines might have added, "IN MY OPINION" As for Fodors, we have traveled many places and take what Fodor's as well as other travel consultants say with a grain of salt. Food particularly is very subjective. When anyone compares NCL with Celebrity or any other line (specialty restaurants) that's exactly what we are referring to: Specialty restaurants and I find the specialty ones on NCL top notch, both service and quality of food. $60.00 plus tip is not out of line for a quality meal in someplace like NY, but in many cities it is a bit on the high side. We have enjoyed all our cruises and all our experiences. I do feel, like Carol in today's cruising the first class quality of food has slipped. this is true on all lines, or all mass produced I should say. I have cruised 15 times, but never on the Crystal quality of ships.
I love these big arguments about the Celebrity specialty restaurants.
It means that a lot of people will be put off and won't go and that we'll have an easy time getting reservations. Sometimes we even go twice, although I really can't see why people would want to eat there every night. It's a special occasion place, not an everyday place.
These are wonderfully enjoyable dining rooms. But if spending the additional money bothers you, or if excellent (but friendly) service is uncomfortable for you, then you should definitely stay away. For others, the surcharge is laughably small for the value received.
One size never fits all. And the obvious fact is that Celebrity knows this. Because if everybody on the ship tried to get in--especially on full 7-day sailings--it would be chaos and a PR problem of the highest order. So there's a going-in assumption that a huge number of people will blow off the specialty restaurant.
Put another way, they deliberately designed them with a certain level of snob appeal.
Right on AR.Hopefully many will stay away from the specialty restaurants and I kind of like the snob appeal.By the way for those interested the food is not the same as served in the dining room.I asked this question on the Volendam and I am sure the same for Celebrity.On Carnaval we even had stone crabs in the alternative rest.To each is own and no the price is not for the staff as you should tip if service warrants and it will almost every time.
They were a one shot in a Cap Club newsletter--had to book by end of Dec...As far as I know the fee was not the tip, thus we also tipped. Not the same food--sep kitchen & staff...it was fun to try it at least once--next cruise I'd rather spend the extra $$ on spa--everyone has their priorities! That's what makes it fun!
I'm of the opposite opinion - in other ships where I've dined in their specialty restaurants, including Crystal, the perception was that the fee was for the service. And Crystal's was only $6 vs. what these others are raising theirs to.
I'm sure the market will make room for all those that like the snob appeal of these specialty restaurants. For me, I'll be happy with the regular food us poor slobs will have to put up with in the dining rooms. (G)
Since we are comparing apples to apples ,you can not compare prices on anything of Crystal to that of the mainstream ships .What did you pay for the cruise versus Celebrity?I would hope that you would not have to pay anything based on the price of a week,s cruise.Try the Olympic on the Millinnium and see if worth the extra charge.
Yes, I agree we can't compare apples and oranges. Crystal usually does run higher but we lucked out with a 20 day repositioning cruise for around $200/day. Crystal also doesn't charge for soda or bottled water either.
As long as people will pay for the snob appeal, from a marketing stand point, Celebrity would be foolish not to charge what the market will allow. They are testing the waters with moving the amount up to $30. If that plays, expect more increases. It's basic supply and demand.