My family and I went to Portifino's on Voyager last year. I had read, on this forum, that people should not pay the extra as all the food should be of a high standard. The truth is, it is not of a high standard but Portofino's does go that extra half a yard, to make it special.
Is it worth it? My answer would be yes. Should Portofino's be the standard for RCCL, again, I would say yes. However the standard of the main dining room is a good ways short of Portofino's - food wise anyways. The service is excellent wherever you choose.
Have a great time.
Don't ride faster than our Guardian Angel can fly
I just returned from a cruise aboard the Liberty and We had dinner at Chops one night.
The service was very good. Excellent to be accurate. The setting and the atmosphere was very nice. We went early, around 7 and the view of the sunset we had from our table was GORGEOUS.
The steak we had was a HUGE disappointment. The appetizers we had were very good but the New York was mediocre, at best.
Last year at the Freedom we went to Portofinos and we felt exactly the same way. I ordered veal and was barely OK.
I do recommend you to give it a try. Dress up very nice and have an evening to remember. The food will be good, much better than downstairs. Don't expect to have the best meal in your life.
After all, it is not that expensive.
I was against paying extra. Then I won dinner at Portofeeno's (SP) and loved it! We went on a port night and were the only one's in there for a while. The chef came out and talked to us which was nice. The food was unbelievable! It was the best meal I've had on a ship. Yes - it's worth it.
I vote "worth it." Was initially reluctant too but now we do it at least once per voyage and no regrets.
As a personal observation, the experience can vary by ship. "Serenade" in Oct. was nowhere near as enjoyable as the dining we had on the "Radiance" the month prior. Still worth the cost for the fine dining tho.
JUST RETURNED FROM A SOUTHERN CARRIBBEAN ON BOARD ADVENTURE. MY WIFE AND I CELEBRATED OUR 30th ANNIVERSARY IN PORTOFINO'S. THE FOOD WAS EXCELENT AND MORE FOOD THAN ONE SHOULD EAT AT 1 SITTING. THE WAIT STAFF KEPT BRINGING OUT COURSE AFTER COURSE.THE WAIT STAFF WAS EXCEPTIONAL.VERY FRIENDLY AND ATTENTIVE. MY ONLY COMPLAINT WAS THAT WE COULD NOT GET WINE FROM THE "WINE AND DINE" PROGRAM THAT WE HAD PAID FOR AHEAD OF TIME. WE ENDED UP BUYING WINE FROM PORTOFINO'S. NONETHELESS IT WAS A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE.DO IT!!YOU WON'T REGRET IT.
We love Portofino - everything we've ever had has been great (and they'll even wrap up dessert for you to take back to your cabin if you can't quite stuff it down). Yes, this is (probably) the way food in the dining room USED to be - however, cruising back then was also so much more expensive that only the very wealthy could afford to do it. I say "probably" because I couldn't afford it then either.
Very surprised to hear about the wine - on Explorer, they even went and got the partial bottle we had on hold from the dining room the night before - no problem at all.
We're sailing on the Mariner in July. Just wondering if you thought the specialty restaurants were worth the extra cost? I'd hate to pay extra and be disappointed!
I can't speak to Royal Caribbean's specialty restaurants, but the important point to bear in mind is that the real cost of dining in a specialty restaurant is not just the direct charge. Rather, it's the direct charge plus the meal in the main dining room that you are not eating, which was included in your cruise fare. Thus, the right question is not whether you would pay the charge at a specialty restaurant to eat that meal, but rather whether you would pay that amount additional to eat that meal instead of the meal that you are not eating in the main dining room. This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many people assess the value of the meals served in specialty restaurants based only on the amount of the surcharge!
If you enjoy delicious food and great service, then the extra surcharge is worth it. While the dining room is adequate, in my opinion, Portofino and Chops are well worth the surcharge. The dining experience there is relaxed, service is great, and the food is dramatically better than what is served in the main dining room. If you want to rush through dinner, and do not enjoy relishing the dining experience, then it is probably not for you.