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Old August 11th, 2013, 10:18 AM
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Default How many nights do you "Specialty Dine?"

Important question for NCL - how many nights per cruise do you "specialty dine?' and when you do NOT do it - do you feel like the meal in the main dining room was good? Is it cruise quality, or is it more like "well, it was okay, but not like the premium restaurants?"

In other words - would you take an NCL cruise if they didn't have the specialty restaurants?
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Old August 11th, 2013, 10:44 AM
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We never pay extra to dine on a cruise . The MDR is fine with us.
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Old August 11th, 2013, 10:58 AM
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Then you are missing out on some "great" food....On NCl, since we were unimpressed with the MDR food. I think 3/4 nights is what we selected.

Shanghai,& the Noodle Bar was one our favorites! We do try the MDR's before we make a decision, to opt for additional nights, other then what we decided and paid for pre cruise. I probabaly would not sail NCL, if not for optional dining.


On the Zuiderdam, if we could have eaten in the Pinnacle Grill more then the night we had reserved, we would have..food and service was just bad.
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Old August 11th, 2013, 02:31 PM
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I've always been under the impression that kids were not welcome in the specialty restaurants, so we've never even looked into it. I just learned on one of the threads here that most of the restaurants will allow kids in the earlier hours.

I contemplated a booking at Chops for our upcoming cruise, but at $30 pp I could not justify it. Different if it were just DH and myself.

We cruise for family time, so until the kids are older and the extra fee makes sense - its the MDR for us.

To be honest, I've always found something I like in the MDR. Yes, I've had the odd entrée that was not to my taste, but the waitstaff have always bought me a replacement.

Haven't been on NCL though.
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Old August 11th, 2013, 05:41 PM
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We're not big fans of NCL food in the main dining room, so I would agree 3 to 4 nights in specialty restaurants for us when doing NCL.

We normally do specialty restaurants at least twice on a 7-night cruise mainly because we so thoroughly love the food, but also because we have to be able to tell our clients about them.

I personally feel the food in all the main dining rooms have deteriorated over the last several years and wish they would charge more money and go back to the way it was than to keep prices low and have quality suffer.

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Old August 12th, 2013, 09:20 AM
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Pete...

As always I tend to agree with you, but the fact is the cruise lines have to charge what they charge to get people on board. They would also love to be charging more and supplying a better product, but the nature of th business is that people expect lower prices.

NCL CEO Kevin Sheehan summed it up best - "the people who tend to pay less for a cruise also tend to spend less during the cruise, we prefer the kind of people who are willing to spend more in the first place - because they spend more overall."

I am not a big fan of the MDR that I had on NCL, but I am also lucky enough that I get to try all the alternatives. Moderno Churasscaria and the Steakhouse are both fantastic. I used to like Le Bistro but I was not so impressed with it on Epic.

The Italian food is average, but it is also just $10 pp extra. Teppenyaki is lots of fun, but I would not rave about the food (but also I can't eat shrimp which is half the meal.)

I have not tried Ocean Blue yet, but I am guessing it is really good.

BTW: did anyone else notice they started out calling it Ocean Blu - but changed it after about two months? I am guessing Celebrity said "we trademarked the name "Blu" already.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 11:06 AM
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I am not a NCL cruiser, but with any cruiselines I don't need to special dine.

If I want to go to a good restaurant I have some here in our neck of the woods.

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Old August 12th, 2013, 12:04 PM
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I agree with you Manuel. I'm more inclined to spend the money at a good restaurant on land, then to do it at sea.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 01:38 PM
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On NCL it is usually six or seven times. That includes, Blue Lagoon (Ocean Blue) or whatever it's now called and O'Sheehan's. These are usually lunch or late night. It's nice to be able to get something more than pizza or a hot dog at 1:00 a.m..

Moderno is my favorite, followed by Cagney's. I did enjoy the noodle bar on Epic. The Italian restaurants have been my least favorite alternatives and, like Paul, I've found that Le Bistro isn't what it used to be but it's still pretty good.

I have had many good dinners in the main dining room and few "not so good".

I also love sailing on NCL in a full suite and enjoying breakfast and lunch in Cagney's. It is a nice perk and the food is a la minute.

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Old August 12th, 2013, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Queen of Oakville View Post
I agree with you Manuel. I'm more inclined to spend the money at a good restaurant on land, then to do it at sea.

They have my favorite dishes not too far from where I live. I might as well enjoy the restaurants here and not go on a cruise if the MDR food is not edible.
I survived many days on (C Rations ), so I have had no problem with the food on the ships that I have been on.

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Old August 14th, 2013, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
I also love sailing on NCL in a full suite and enjoying breakfast and lunch in Cagney's. It is a nice perk and the food is a la minute.
Mike, I did not know this is offered. That is a really good deal, Cagneys (the steakhouse on NCL) is excellent. I have had the best lamp and Chateaubriand on board there. I really love Moderno (the Brazilian Chiaroscuro) though.

The suites restaurant (Haven Grill,, or whatever they call it) also have excellent food. I love the Tuna (lightly grilled sushi quality) sandwich on egg bread - delicious, I had dreams about that sandwch.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 06:36 PM
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Moderno made a lot of money when I dined there. The Chinese food in Shanghai was super....French food has never been on my faves,and when we has the CM dinner in the Italian restaurant, what I ate was good..
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Old August 14th, 2013, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
Mike, I did not know this is offered. That is a really good deal, Cagneys (the steakhouse on NCL) is excellent. I have had the best lamp and Chateaubriand on board there. I really love Moderno (the Brazilian Chiaroscuro) though.

The suites restaurant (Haven Grill,, or whatever they call it) also have excellent food. I love the Tuna (lightly grilled sushi quality) sandwich on egg bread - delicious, I had dreams about that sandwch.
Paul,

It is basically the same perk as the Haven Grill on their other ships that don't have "The Haven". The breakfast and lunch in Cagney's is not the same menu as the dinner menu. It is a limited menu but everything is ala minute and in a nice and peaceful venue.

Take care,
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Old August 20th, 2013, 02:03 PM
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For us, the specialty dining is a part of the cruise. I would say that we usually dine at a specialty restaurant about 3 times a cruise. With that said, we have always been happy with the MDR.
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Old August 20th, 2013, 03:53 PM
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So far we have done 1 NCL cruise on the Pearl and we ate at the Italian and Japanese Steakhouse pay for restaurants. To be honest we didn't think the food was all that good for the money. The MDR, in my opinion was better then the pay for places.

I have ate in the specialty restaurants on Carnival and Princess too. I was not impressed with any of them either. The food has always been so good in the MDR that I really don't see the need to spend the extra dollars eating elsewhere.
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Old September 8th, 2013, 09:55 AM
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For us it was twice (Teppenyaki and Chin Chin) on the Jewel in Alaska last month. We also get a lunch and a late meal at the Blue Lagoon a few times.

I am not a big fan of Cagney's and Le Bistro, the meals just wern't that great.

I have not been to the Moderno (the Brazilian Chiaroscuro) yet but that is on my list.

I do feel the meals in the main dining room was good enough and is cruise quality.

And yes I would you take an NCL cruise even if they didn't have the specialty restaurants.

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Old September 28th, 2013, 03:43 PM
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I agree, would probably cruise NCL even without the specialty restaurants, although we do tend to eat at specialties 3 to 4 times, and the MDR once and buffet once. I think NCL's buffets are surprisingly good, and the new Breakaway offers a lobster night and a prime rib night there. And you seldom see anyone who does not like the comfort food at O'Sheehans, the 24 hour restaurant. Hot wings, anyone? We usually hit the MDR on lobster night only. We tend to eat out a lot at home, and like to on a cruise as well. The ambiance is better in the specialties, and yes, the food is probably better on the whole as well. Some people bypass LeBistro as they "don't do French food", but actually the steak there is superior to Cagney's steakhouse, and for $10 less per person.

Children are allowed in all specialty restaurants, free from the children's menu and half price from the specialty menu. Below a certain age is free, maybe 3?

Someone else mentioned the great perk of suite guests dining for breakfast and lunch in Le Bistro. Made to order omlets, etc and a small buffet with fruit etc. Suite guests may also order en suite from any specialty or main dining room for breakfast or dinner and it will be served by the butler.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 04:29 PM
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If you love beef the TriTip in Moderno is unbelievable. The get the fat nice and crispy and juicy tho the meat stays tender. Its one of my favorite foods.

I had the lamb chops in both Cagneys and Le Bistro, and I would say Cagneys' were better.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 05:13 PM
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If you love beef the TriTip in Moderno is unbelievable. The get the fat nice and crispy and juicy tho the meat stays tender. Its one of my favorite foods.

I had the lamb chops in both Cagneys and Le Bistro, and I would say Cagneys' were better.
I am not a big fan of the Churriscaria type restaurants. The meats mostly seem to be too dry for me, although the chicken is good, and just waaaay too much meat, but the husband loves it! Will have to try the TriTip!

But aside from the meats, the Moderno salad bar is to die for, and those fried plantains and roasted pineapple. Who cares if there is meat or not!
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Old November 6th, 2013, 02:04 PM
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I don't usually specialty dine, and Yes, I would cruise NCL. without the specialty restaurants.

I'd rather spend money on other things, than food.
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Old January 21st, 2014, 06:50 PM
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Our last 4 sailings we've eaten at Specialty restaurants about 90% of the time. We don't mind paying the extra for the intimate atmosphere, better service and great food.
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Old February 10th, 2014, 09:57 AM
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Our last 4 sailings we've eaten at Specialty restaurants about 90% of the time. We don't mind paying the extra for the intimate atmosphere, better service and great food.
Just upgraded to The Haven. Looking forward to having the butler bring our dinner from LeBistro to our room. Never had a butler before, this should be fun..lol
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Old February 13th, 2014, 08:54 AM
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Ate at the Sushi place, La Cuchina, Cagney's and Moderno on the Epic in January 2014.

All were great EXCEPT Moderno. Service was awful and the food was undercooked. Not a fan of bloody meat here.

Food in the MDR was much better than 2 years ago on the Pearl.
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Old February 14th, 2014, 12:51 PM
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Just upgraded to The Haven. Looking forward to having the butler bring our dinner from LeBistro to our room. Never had a butler before, this should be fun..lol
Lucky you! When are you sailing and on what ship? Never been in the Haven, but we did have suites on the Sun and Star and the butler is great! I believe you can get desserts in your cabin from the specialties without paying the cover charge. We did not learn this until AFTER our suite cruises, unfortunately.

On a side note, I have to stand corrected about the Le Bistro steak vs Cagney's. Cagney's recently updated their menu ( along with a $5 increase in cover to $30 ) and upped the steak quality. When we cruised on Epic in December, the filet at Cagney's was wonderful.

NCL has started implementing new MDR menus. Recent reviews indicate that people seem to be impressed with the quality. This would be good news for those who do not like to spend an extra $20 for a dinner elsewhere. And we never ate at O'Sheehans much except for the occasional late night hot wings, but I have seen mention of prime rib nights, spare ribs and so forth in that free venue.

We'll be on the Getaway in February and will definitely let you know about the menus and food quality.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 12:13 PM
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We only eat dinner in the speciality restaurants. No matter what cruise line.

Hubby and I like freshly prepared food that is cooked to order. I like that the specialty restaurants are quieter, and the service is usually quite good. And honestly, the restaurants are dirt cheap for what you get. They are a bargain.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
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We only eat dinner in the speciality restaurants. No matter what cruise line.

Hubby and I like freshly prepared food that is cooked to order. I like that the specialty restaurants are quieter, and the service is usually quite good. And honestly, the restaurants are dirt cheap for what you get. They are a bargain.
I'm with you on this one. I am doing a TA in about 2 months and have booked 9 nights so far is speciality dining and was thinking of just doing them all.....The service, quiet atmosphere, quality of food, decor are all appealing and the older I get, the more I want/need this.
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Old February 19th, 2014, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
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We only eat dinner in the speciality restaurants. No matter what cruise line.

Hubby and I like freshly prepared food that is cooked to order. I like that the specialty restaurants are quieter, and the service is usually quite good. And honestly, the restaurants are dirt cheap for what you get. They are a bargain.

I totally agree. Yes, I know you have already paid for food in your cruise fare, but $20 for an appetizer, main course and dessert in an equivalent restaurant at home would cost way more. And usually you can order more than one selection from appetizer and dessert choices in addition to the main entree for no additional money.
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Old July 19th, 2014, 01:17 PM
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4 nights, twice in shanghai´s Chinese restaurant, Moderno Brazilian restaurant was fantastic. The food in the main dining rooms was fine but they were always busy. I think the addition of speciality restaurants is a good thing and has enhanced the cruise experience for me. As for paying a surcharge, what you pay for the standard of food you receive is nothing.
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Old July 19th, 2014, 05:16 PM
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Good point - and welcome to our forum, WCCH!!!

I am very interested in hearing what a Spanish cruiser thinks. Are you looking forward to having an Oasis-class ship coming to you soon, do you plan to go?
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