Norwegein Cruise Lines - Fee Based Restaurants/Meals
We cruised on NCL to Hawaii and only used the basic dining rooms and buffet. They have additional restaurants that take reservations and charge an extra fee. Which of these have been worthwhile? Thank you for your input. I have mixed feelings about the "freestyle" cruising because I feel like we have already paid for our meals in the base price, but do enjoy a fine italian or bistro dish.
We sailed the Norwegian Sea to the Caribbean and they had one bistro type restaurant that was a $15 cover charge. We did it the first night (to celebrate our launch!) and it was so fantastic, we made reservations for our last night also.... WELL worth it, and then some! My daughter is a big fan of lobster and she had all the lobster she could eat, plus all the sides, drink, dessert. If you don't like something, send it back and get something else -- it's all included in the $15. The last night was her birthday, so I mentioned it to our waitress and they brought her a cake for dessert -- they truly go out of their way. The peach flambe, and chocolate fondue pot was also terrific. If you'd like to see pics, here is the link -- the last 3 are of my daughter being surprised by her cake. http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&x=0&y=-sycss3
Lat year on our repositioning cruise (LA to Vancouver Norwegian Spirit) we ate at La Bistro (french food, very very good, GREAT service, mushroom soup to die for, steak was out of this world ) and also at the Japanese place (wonderful as well).
Our cruise had a two for one at the speciality restaurants between 5- 6:30.....We paid 15 each night for the two of us...
Here is an excerpt of my impressions of the food on the Norwegain Star. I think if you budget $75 to $100 for the for fee restaurants you will be able to do each one plus the non-fee restaurants and get full effect of Freestyle.
Originally Posted by Mike M
Overall I will give the food a Good to Excellent rating. The only negatives I will give are the omelette's in the Market Cafe. Gee: Pre-made omelette's aren't that good. I am not much of a breakfast person but the two that I had in Versailles were very good, complete with hot pancakes and good over easy eggs.
Versailles restaurant: I only ate there once for dinner and that was the mediocre service. Others in our party ate there on a couple of occasions and enjoyed it. It is a beautiful venue with large aft facing windows. They all commented that service was very good but seemed a bit more rushed. We ate in Aqua on two occasions and the service was always great. The menus are basically the same between Versailles and Aqua. The decor of Aqua is not as ornate but I did enjoy every meal. The two stand outs for me were the lamb and the Duck. Both were outstanding.
La Trattoria: This restaurant is basically one half of the Market Cafe that is opened at night. It is an Italian theme. The pastas were very good. All members of our party loved them. I am not a pasta person but the fillet I had was quite good and cooked to order.
The specialty restaurants of Le Bistro, Cagney's and Soho are all exceptional. I would try at least one of them on your cruise. Overall, my favorite was Le Bistro but it is hard to choose. All of them have additional charge items (above the service fee) such as a surf and turf for $5 more that is a large lobster tail and fillet or three lobster tails. My wife had the lobster tails and loved them. They are definitely the type you get in the main dining rooms on most ships.
One extra charge item that I had in Cagney's and Soho that was wonderful in Cagney's but needed to be taken back in Soho was the Fois Grois. It was fantastic. Unfortunately the first time in Soho it was cold and then when it was brought back it was "nuked" and turned into a gelatin. At that point I just asked for it to be taken off the bill and I would pass. The Maitre 'd apologized and said "The chef will get no dinner tonight." A few minutes later a huge plate of Foils Grois was placed in front of me that was done to perfection. It was about four times the normal serving. We all had a good laugh and I happily shared it with the members of the family that would eat it.
The only specialty restaurant that didn't really impress me was the Sushi restaurant. It did have a variety of sushi and teppanyaki but for the additional price it was of a variety that I have had on other ships that was included and I was not overly impressed with the quality and I am a sushi lover. It was by no means bad but it wasn't that great. A lot of vegetable varieties of sushi on the turntable but few ahi, salmon or eel rolls.
However: I do have to add that when the Sushi Chef heard that I was ordering Ahi he said it was included and prepared me a large platter of it and had it delivered to me. That was a nice touch!
Also: One of my favorite venues: The Blue Lagoon. This is a wonderful venue for a snack or light meal. It beats room service hands down. The burgers, fries and fish and chips were excellent. The fish was not a large portion but they had no problem with requesting two pieces. It's open 23 hours a day. They clean between 4:30 and 5:30 AM.
Room Service: I ordered one sandwich from room service with coffee and it was fine. It was roast beef. Every thing was good but nothing to write home about. I did just to see how it would be.
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I was recently part of a group of 16 aboard NCLA'S Pride of Aloha.
One night 12 of us made a reservation in Kihilli, the ship's cover-charged Italian Restaurant.
The food and service in the main dining-rooms was far superior to what we received in Kihilli. The service was soooo slow, and the food was just ok. We were seated about 8pm, and did not finish until 11ish. I think that dinner should not take longer than 90 minutes.
In this case, I did not feel that the added expense of the specialty restaurant was worth it. The others in our group agreed with me.
However, past experience with specialty restaurants on other cruises was wonderful. Food & service were superb.
We did the ncla pride of america hawaiin cruise sorry to say the food was bad but that american crew on board as far as service was the worst of my 7 cruises,i read about that and sad to say it was 100% true.Did a previos cruise with ncl in 06 and it was o.k. The specialty resturants were hard as heck to get in if you waited like we did on the second day,i would rate them so-so imo just do dining room
we've cruised many times with NCL, always had a fabulous time, food & all.
we cruised twice with NCLA (the American arm of NCL with US-flagged ships), the first time we were not too impressed with the OVERALL service shipwide, many "I don't care" attitudes, we noticed from the mostly childish/amateur US crew.
So we gave NCLA the benefit of the doubt (we said, OK maybe oddball cruise) and tried them the second time, let's just say no more NCLA cruises for us until they put their act together.