The future of the MDR

Which cruise line will be the first to eliminate the MDR in favour of a larger buffet, and / or a large selection of alternate dining venues, sponsored or otherwise ?

The writing is on the walls folks.  It's gonna happen. 

5 years ?  Give or take a year.

25 Answers

I don't see the Princess line doing it any time soon because there are way too many older people who prefer the sit down dining experience to a buffet. They enjoy being served and the numerous courses offered as well as their bottle of wine with dinner. Personally, I like mixing it up depending upon my mood of the day and whether I just want to eat rather then dine.

I do see the specialty restaurants decreasing on Princess because people are just not going to them. In the course of 24 days on the Royal, you could walk into any specialty restaurant without a reservation ...

It wouldn't happen on Princess, Celebrity, or Holland America. However..........Norwegian already has a small window for breakfast in the dining room. I'm not sure about lunch as we never eat in the dining room for lunch. Too inconvenient. The waits at the MDR for dinner can at times be so long, people give up and head up to the buffet.

Carnival, keeps changing their menu. They might have a leg up in getting celebrity chefs to open some sort of dining experience. Hell, Carnival ( or Norwegian ) could bring on several food trucks and make it work. Doesn't Royal have a Central Park theme on one of their ships ? Well, what's Central Parl without a food truck ? How about a vendor selling hot glazed peanuts, pretzels, and chestnuts ? Tell me you wouldn't wait on line for a snack like that. Shaved ice, cotton candy, the list is endless. And many items could be up charged. The word, included, is vanishing from the modern cruise experience.

I'm put money on it being NCL or Carnival. I'm thinking that the move to "a la carte" pricing on NCL may be a harbinger of alternative dining experiences. There may always be a dining room, but my guess is that there may be an up charge for dining in it.

Could happen, however, such a drastic move would have to happen to all lines at the same time or one of the lines will point out what is happening. We know that over all the lines offer much the same in way of offerings. Some better , some worse, some cheaper some more expensive. Now if this happens, what's next?

Maybe Carnival will have a semi trailer load of White Castles on board some day soon.

The nice thing with NCL right now is that they have 2 or more MDR depending on the ship. Usually one seems to be busier than the other. But they also have other complimentary non buffet dining venues too which we have used for both dinner and lunch and enjoyed very much such as Bamboo or O'Sheehans. Not sure if the main dining room will disappear completely. i do not think it will as too many people still enjoy it but I do see it possible going more to the multi level dining where complimentary allows you a choice of 3 or 4 basic dishes and the others on the menu are up charges. That is the more likely way things will play out in my opinion.

Very interesting discussion, Danyl noticed the changes since her first cruise in 2007. I can see where there would be themed food places, just hope it does not happen.

My bet is on either Carnival in order to remain a discount line, or RCL to keep pace with Carnival. I do not see it happening on the "premium" lines.

My bet is for NCL, they are already well on the way with more dining choices and the a la cart pricing. Getting rid of the MDR on most other lines would call for $$$ to remodel the ships to install all the new venues and the kitchens for each of them. That would be an expensive undertaking.

Now, don't bad mouth food trucks, some of them are great. We have a 3rd saturday of the month gourmet food truck event here in town that gets a large turn out where the side streets are closed off. Some of the trucks are good food and not cheap,

I think it would be a great idea on certain RCL / CARNIVAL / NORWEGIAN / especially there older vessels might pump some new life to the boat , don't see premium lines even considering this.


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