Okay, this is a bit of a pet peeve for me... I hate when the Cruise Line calls the charge for the reservations-only restaurant a "nominal" fee. Doesn't nominal mean "not that much"? On Carnival, the "nominal fee" for their special restaurant is $25 per person (not including drinks as far as I know)... That seems like a lot extra to pay for dinner, even if it is special. It's not even the price that bothers me.... It's that they act like its just an insignificance amount. Maybe 25 bucks isn't a fortune, but its not "nominal" either!!!
Has anyone noticed any other not so nominal extras?
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and a nominal charge by any other name still stinks. I don't think most alternate restaurants I've tried have been worth the extra fare, but $25 seems to be about the going rate. I guess the line has to make up the cost of diverted resources. They're not a value option to me.
Most other add-ons seem pricey, too. Massage, hair care, Internet charges, and so on. But they say it's overpriced popcorn that keep movie theaters in business.
i truly don't understand the whole "alternative restaurant" thing. After all its the same kitchen, same chefs, same staff as who service the traditional restaurant. Why do we need to pay more? ambiance, smaller intimate feeling?
It is not the same kitchen or chefs on most ships. Much against my own inclination We did do LeBistro on the NCL Dream 11/02. For example: The next nite they served escargot in the regular dine room. The difference was reak butter vs oil. The steak was better, the dessert (s) more to me interesting and better.
I tried the Alternate restaurant on the Carnival Legend and what a treat. I too at first balked at the price and only went along because everyone else wanted to do it. But I'am glad I did and only wish I had tried it earlier so I could have gone another night. It was actually quite wonderful and every bit worth the price. Nothing about it was like ordinary, from the food to the service.
Originally, the alternative fees on the Grand Princess were $3.50, for both Sabatini's and The Painted Desert. That was on my first cruise in 1999. The reason behind it was that the waitstaff int he restaurants was not included in the tipping from the main dining room, as this fee ensured a minimal tip (about 15% for an estimated $25 meal.
Now, the charge is $15 for Sabatini's...but they have switched their menu to a multi-course extravaganza. In 1999, it was just like a nice itialian restuarant at home...the food was not endless. The charge for the Painted Desert is $8, but that includes a very large martini.
Most of the meals at these restaurants are not available in the main dining rooms.
Gram and I ate Monday night at the "nominal fee" supper club on Legend. Was it worth it. Damn right it was. Neither the food , chefs, waiters, entertainers or anyone or anything else was the same as anything you have ever had at sea (and probably most of us on land). The service was superb, way beyond anything you experience at sea . The food quality and preparation were the equal of a five star restaurant and the presentation was beyond amazing. The entertainers were the best I have ever heard at sea. I would compare the whole experience to dinner at the RainBow Room in NY (without the snooty NY attitude) . I agree that other "optional restaurants" are not worth it ,but , if you ever sail on Legend their supper cub is a must do experience. The $ 50
would have been $ 600 in NY.
We ate on the Celebrity Summit at the Normandie. Was absolutely fantastic.
The staff are paid a salary according to our traditional dining waiter who would like to work in the Normandie.
The food and service were outstanding and well worth the fee of $25 p/p. The food is prepared on the Summit in a completely different galley. Many items are prepared right at the table. It is fine dining to the utmost.
The $25 p/p covers the tips for all those involved, the M'd, waiters, asst waiters, wine steward, chefs and entertainment. This meal if served in a fine land restaurant would cost $250.00 or more for two.
BTW, the wine & liquor is extra over the fee.
__________________ Ready to Steer towards another cruise
My family is going on the Carnival Pride in like 2 weeks and my mom has been talking about the reservations only dinner. She said we will all have to do it one night. I heard that people stand by you your whole meal to assist with anything that needs done, and they also serve Joes stone crab legs which they dont in the normal dining room. People who have been on the legend, what kind of drinks are included? I'm only 15, so i guess i can get a virgin pina colada or something! But from what my mom has said about "Davids", i'm pretty excited to go to it.
The thing I don't understand about these posts is that they do not mention that on top of the $25.00 p/p or so charge you have already paid for your meal within your cruise fee. So in essence you are paying well over the $25.00 p/p nominal fee.
I agree, and don't you think the "nominal" fee of $25 per person is going to rise if they are having sellout crowds every night? Of course it is, and at what price does the demand settle out to meet the supply? Is that $45, $60.......................?
I'd like to hear from those who think the alternate dining venues are a deal at $25. What price then would you consider to be about right for the dinner, and as such, you wouldn't consider paying it unless it is for your anniversary, or birthday, or some other special event?
Often the alternative restaurants do not use the same kitchens and food is cooked to order instead of in large vats. In my opinion, there is a huge difference, especially on some Princess, R.C.L., and N.C.L. ships. For instance, "Le Bistro" on N.C.L. has vastly superior food, service and ambience. It was worth the $10 extra to eat there. In 2000 on our Baltic cruise on the Norwegian Dream we ate there 9 out of 12 nights and were glad we did.
I've not done alternative dining on H.A.L. as yet. We'll try that on the Amsterdam in a few weeks.We tried the alternative dining on the Celebrity Zenith last winter. It seemed like the food was identical to the other main restaurant and the charge was $8. Often this nominal charge is a charge passed on as a gratuity to the servers that wouldn't otherwise be tipped at the end of the cruise.
I don't think there is a blanket answer to this question. My opinion is that the value od alternative restaurants varies by line, ship and customer's needs. That is why it is optional.