I am very displeased with the relatively new practice of needing to reserve and pay for a nice place to eat on board a cruise ship. The rather substantial fees we pay to get there should allow us to pick from any place on board without the necessity of more, "hidden" fees. All this does is serve to establish yet another class of passengers - those who can and want to pay, while the rest of us budgeted our funds to get there at all and are now relegated to the buffet every time. Not something I care for.
On what cruise line is your only alternative for dinner and other meals a buffet unless you want to pay for dinner? I can't think of a single one where the buffet is the only "no extra charge " dining
choice. To my knowledge every major cruise line offers a sit down dining room that is part of the base charge for the cruise.
I have never had to pay for a nice place to eat on a cruise ship. Sometimes for us it is room service(24hrs.),or by the pool, buffet service and there is always the dining room(3 times a day) That being said there have been extras added to some new megga ships that were not there when we first cruised in 1984.What has not changed over the years is the standard things you pay for when you book the cruise.You now have a package store extra options for eating and activities but I can not find where there are all these hidden charges if you do you homework.As stated in the vacation planner of one cruiseline that has megga ships,"additional charges may apply to specialty restaurants",and on another page it says"the cruise vacation does not include air,transfers,items of personal nature,shore excursions,some beverages,photos,gratuities,medical service,etc.These items may be purchased separately."No where does it say one has to use the extra services(unless you get sick).There is pleanty of food and drink 24 hrs a day and no one is forced to just eat at a buffet and there is only one class of passenger which has the right to use the whole ship from top to bottom(not like the old 1st. class).If you are a first time cruiser then a good ta can fill you in on these things but doing the reserch before spending thousands has its rewards.
I will be going on my fourth Carnival cruise in April and I have never been disappointed with the dining choices. This time I am looking forward to trying the "reservations only" supper club that is available on The PRIDE but nobody forced me into this decision. It is totally up to each individual passenger where he/she wants to eat and if people choose to spend a little extra to try something new, then it is their option. Everyone else can feel free to eat at the buffet, in the dining room, on deck, or in their stateroom, whatever they might enjoy!!!!!!
I, for one, don't mind paying extra if the experience is worth it.
You might like to look back in the article archives for my stories on the specialty restaurants on the Millie class ships.
As others have said, you are not relegated to the buffet at each meal. The main dining room is a good -- but not great -- restaurant.
I like having the option ... on Summit, come May, we will eat in the specialty restaurant twice, at least. We budget for that. We will probably spend at least $100 each evening, but I'd rather that money go into my stomach than into a slot machine. Plus, it's less than what we'd spend for a similar meal ashore. I call it a good deal.
Went on the Magic last year. They had a special Italian restaurant. It was only 5 bucks extra. We thought about it. Too tell the truth we never got around to it. There were enough things on the regular menus to try. At each meal I tried something that`s not on the slate at restaurants in the midwest. No escargot here. Really no lamb chops or risotto. Some things I liked, some I didn`t. That`s why I was trying them.
The point is, things can be nice at your regular table, if you let them. If it calls for adventure you can find it there or the fancy place.
I`ve checked the menus for the pride for this september. Adventure awaits right there, no matter where you go.
I agree!! The specialty restaurants are there for those who want them, but the dining rooms are a great alternative! And the buffet is as good as the dining rooms, without the atmosphere. On the Grand last year, we chose to eat in the SW rest, The Painted Desert twice. (We were going thru tortilla chip & salsa withdrawal.) This year I want to try Sabitini's as by the time we decided to try it last year there were no openings. I don't mind spending a little extra for the experience. After all, it 's VACATION!!!
provides a sample menu for the dining room for each cruiseship. It has the wine list and lots of virtual tours. It's a really fun site.
I read another posting that on the ships that offer the specialty restaurant, the main restaurants are hard to get a table. I can't find where that was. Is this a consistent problem among the cruiselines? I don't mind the extras if I'm informed about it all upfront. I budget very carefully and don't like suprises.
Was on the spirit last dec. They have a specialty resturant at $25 pp. Never made it. The food in the dining room looked too enticing every day. When you speak of waits etc you may be referring to freestyle or persanal choice on NCL and Princess. There are tons of opinion yea and nay all over various boards. I have always had traditional (over 32 years of cruising) and am not too nuts about these innovations.