Do You Dine at Specialty Restaurants While Cruising?

Rarely do we go to extra fee restaurants unless a TA  or the cruise line offers that to us as a perk.  Perhaps for a special occasion we might consider it.  How about you?  I think that for the most part passengers really do get a much better meal and great service.

11 Answers

Very open question. On our last cruise we went to three of the pay restaurants on the NCL Dawn. The Japanese food was great, the Bistro was 5 star and then add a couple more. The Italian was terrible, we did make sure the cruise line was aware of the total failure of the place. Now on the Golden Princess we went to the Steak House, that was fair to good.I really don't need to go to these, but all were special occasions. I often just pick up fresh fruit to snack on during the day, and we eat in the main dining room if the menu appeals to us. Cruise lines that are affordable really need to make sure the revenue per cruise meets their projections, so extra charges for restaurants make a difference, I expect to see more and more of these and less and less of the "free" dining options. I will still cruise as often as I can, I will just budget differently.

Over the years we’ve tried many of the specialty restaurants but we don’t consider them a “must-do” part of the cruise. We’ve always been happy with the food and service in the main dining rooms but sometimes a specialty restaurant is a nice change. Most people seem to focus on the price but for us many factors go into deciding if we’ll go to one. The itinerary and port times, the entertainment schedule, the cruise line and even the specific ship can all make a difference.

I have gone to the specialty restaurants on most ships that offer them. I go for a special occasion, just to give them a try, if I have a craving for a good steak or if the dining room menu is not up to my liking that night.

I have to say Surprisingly on NCL the French restaurant was Excellent . It was the

only really good food we had on the trip, the MDR was about as good as Home Town Buffet on the Star.

On Celebrity I do not need the Specialty's as the food in the MDR is Excellent most nights. The last ship I was on did not have specialty dining, just the MDR, Buffet or the Chef's special dinner for $ 75.00 each.

This next trip I will go to the Steak house or the Chef's special dinner to celebrate my b-day. I have tried to get my B-day at sea for year and this year I get to do it.

On my next cruise, I will celebrate my birthday. Usually my sister is along to celebrate with me as we are twins. We just may go to a nice specialty restaurant on that night. The cruise is very long and a change of scenery from the MDR will be fun. Gloria

I ate 2 times at the Pinnacle Grill on the Oosterdam ,the travel agent payed

Thanks GTVCRUISER for the beautiful photo. It makes me want to dine here. Thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts here. It is funny getting to know each one of you here. Gloria

We have yet to have a bad meal in any ship steakhouse. The Pinnacle Grill on Holland America is some of the best food ANYWHERE !!!!!! Le Bistro on Norwegian is also excellent. You really are missing out on some fine dining by not eating in some of these restaurants.

Perhaps we are missing out on great food by not going to specialty restaurants. However we go on many cruises and if we spent more money on the specialty restaurants we would have to cut down on the number of cruises that we take. Same thing for booking suites. I know if we booked suites, we would feel even more pampered onboard. Everyone loves to visit the Spa on cruises. I see them lined up for appointments. If I did all these things, our cruise price would be out of our budget. For me, I care more about the entertainment, music, and itinerary. I cruise so I can see different parts of the world without packing & unpacking every couple of days. I guess I just don't have gourmet tastes. I have never felt that the dining room was so bad that I had to visit an extra cost restaurant. We do dine in the extra cost venues for special occasions so I have been to many of them. Some are better than others. We always have a good time at them and enjoy the extra attention and better food but it just isn't that important to us. Everyone has different expectations on a vacation. If food is the most important aspect of the cruise, then you should go to the specialty restaurant. For you they are worth it. Friends of mine mostly only dine in the specialty restaurants no matter how the food is in the MDR. I prefer to put my money on excursions in ports. They prefer to put their money into food. We all have great vacations which is wonderful.

You don't have to do everything on board, or eat in every restaurant. If you take that many cruises, treat yourself to one restaurant each trip. They only run about $25 - $50 per person, depending on the line and the venue. But we don't eat every dinner in a restaurant. We pick maybe 2. 3 if it's really supposed to be good. The steakhouse is a must, then one other. But to never eat in them, you're missing some great meals. I think. Funny thing is, we have friends that eat in the MDR no matter how BAD it is. They simply refuse to pay a few bucks extra. Which is fine. We enjoy the experiences. Maybe because we live in NY and love food. To each his own.

I agree on not spending too much on the cabin. However, we do require the accessible cabins, so we usually end up with an interior anyway. If the ship has a thermal suite and Thalosotherapy pool, we book it. For our upcoming cruise we have a spa cabin, which includes the Thalosotherapy pool and amenities.

On our Norwegian Epic cruise, we opted for the specialty dining package and ate at a specialty restaurant every night. We thought it was a great value overall, but if we had to do it again we would probably just opt for one meal at Cagney's steak house...which in my opinion was a bargain. I got a 16 oz, perfectly grilled rib eye and an appetizer plus sides for $30.....a local steak house near me charges $80 for the same thing. The other specialty restaurants were good, but not great in my opinion.


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