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What if we all stopped going to "Specialty" Dinning?

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We have cruised a decent amount over the years and have tried specialty dinning on many NCL ships. Overall, I must admit to being underwhelmed. There have been a few really nice experiences, but not really worth the extra price.

 

To make it worse, it seems like NCL is pushing more and more in that direction. For example the Margaritaville experience on the Getaway and Breakaway.

 

So, I suggest we stop getting caught up in the hype of Specialty dining and demand that the cruise lines provide their best dining options at all dining rooms to all guests. No more paying extra for dining!

 

Crazy idea???

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Yes...crazy idea.

 

You haven't clearly thought through the goal or the potential outcomes.

 

For example, in response to this action, NCL could simply opt to close ALL of the specialty dining options on the ship....leaving everyone to the MDRs, the buffet, and O'Sheehans as the only dining options available. Therefore nobody would have to pay extra for dining. (which IS the stated goal). :o

 

Further, NCL could also simply increase the fare by $300-$400 per person and make all of the dining options available at no charge. Then we could all fight each other over reservations because of the limited seating.

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We have cruised a decent amount over the years and have tried specialty dinning on many NCL ships. Overall, I must admit to being underwhelmed. There have been a few really nice experiences, but not really worth the extra price.

 

To make it worse, it seems like NCL is pushing more and more in that direction. For example the Margaritaville experience on the Getaway and Breakaway.

 

So, I suggest we stop getting caught up in the hype of Specialty dining and demand that the cruise lines provide their best dining options at all dining rooms to all guests. No more paying extra for dining!

 

Crazy idea???

 

Yeah! Let the revolution begin. Arise all you oppressed cruisers! You have nothing to lose but good food! WAIT A MINUTE!!! I have 3 specialty dinners coming up on my cruise.......ummmm NEVER MIND....The revolution can begin after my March cruise on the Getaway! :evilsmile:

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Since the introduction of the sdp the quality has suffered. Guests who wouldn’t use this amenity are now overwhelming the restaurants. And service and quality is way down. It should be pay to dine only.

 

 

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Interesting comments all....but did you ever cruise BEFORE Specialty Dining existed???

It was great!

As I contend, it is all hype, not better quality!

Just my opinion.

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I don't know why you don't want to have options. For me, I would rather have a lower cruise price, with paid add-on flexibility. Everything exclusive means that there are going to be a lot of waste and people are going to abuse it. It's basically regular folks paying extra for those who abuse it.

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Interesting comments all....but did you ever cruise BEFORE Specialty Dining existed???

It was great!

As I contend, it is all hype, not better quality!

Just my opinion.

I did cruise before specialty dining was around and if they would have been around, depending on the cruise line, I would have gone.

 

Not a hype at all, the food, atmosphere and service are all much better in the specialty restaurants than the MDR, IMHO.

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Yes, it is a crazy idea. If people refuse to pay for something, it does not become free, it becomes something different that they might pay for.

 

If everyone eats the same thing at the same time with the same people every night (traditional cruising), you just need a couple of huge dining rooms. Add a buffet for the outliers.

 

If everyone eats at random times with random people every night (Freestyle), you need a way to have smaller spaces with smaller tables. So, from a dining room or two plus a buffet to multiple locations of varying sizes. Specialty dining.

 

You’re really paying to not have to eat with the same people at a fixed time every night.

 

 

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The idea is fine, but don’t have any expectations that you’ll attract many to participate. Contrary to the predictable bashing in your post, as with anything brought up here on CC, we like speciality dining, are satisfied with the product, and have no desire to go back to the good old days. And we also feel no indignation of paying what amounts to a few bucks to dine at these venues via the perk provided.

 

 

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It would be nice for passengers, but it wouldn't be good for the cruise line. The money brought in from the specialty restaurants helps the cruise line make money and they wouldn't want that to go away, so it won't happen.

Also, I think the money they make from the specialty restaurants and other specialty dinners helps keep fares somewhat reasonable. Costs go up and money needs to come in to help with that, though I do think they go overboard in some areas, just not the specialty dining.

On NCL we've gone to the Italian restaurant before they started charging a fee for it. It was okay, but we eat Italian at home and in restaurants back home so the restaurant on the ship didn't wow us. We haven't been to the ship's restaurant since they added the fee.

We've also eaten at Cagney's a couple of times. My mother and my husband liked it, so the fee was acceptable. I didn't care for it, but then, I prefer the steaks I get at a local restaurant back home so steak doesn't interest me on the ships. We haven't been to the ship's restaurant since, IIRC, 2010.

We've gone to LeBistro once or twice. Their food was good, but we haven't eaten there since 2012, IIRC.

I loved the Jazz Brunches NCL used to have, but haven't seen them listed for some time. :( I love live music while dining! Now there I would love to see the cruise line improve - by bringing a variety of live music into the restaurants. Live, low-volume music brings the atmosphere of dining to a whole new plane :cool:. So relaxing and it takes some of the edge off when you have pauses in discussion for chewing, and if you need a minute to come up with something to talk about. :) I thought the $15 charge per person was worth it for the Jazz Brunch. I would go to one again.

We go a lot to the Asian restaurants back home, but we often went to the Asian restaurant on the ships at least once a cruise. The $15 per person fee we felt was reasonable for the variety, quality, and amount of food we received. The lower number of diners made it possible for the employees to give more attention to each table too. The placement of the Asian restaurant also made it possible to hear live music while we dined too...super cool! We haven't been to the Asian restaurant since they removed the per person fee because they also removed a lot of the menu items, including the ones we loved and ordered each time we'd go :( .

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Even without the SDP promo, I'd still go to the specialty restaurants. I'd buy the 3 or 4 SDP since that is (in my case) a better deal than a la carte. The fact that I get the 3SDP as a promo makes it an even better deal. Factoring in the service charge on the promo (still not happy about suite guests being charged that), each meal is a little more than the cost of a happy meal at McDonald's.:D

 

It's just another example of NCL offering something complimentary (MDR, O'Sheehan's, etc.) and something better at extra cost (specialty restaurant). There's no wrong choice. Eat where you want and pay/not pay more depending on your choice.

 

I like that NCL has choices even though some choices could be better. Bring back the UDP, for ex. With more "specialty lunch" venues being built/added, I'd prefer the old UDP as an option.

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Love the speciality dining and I believe NCL's is amongst the best value at sea.

I also loved Getaway's Margaritaville - Super service - cheap cheap prices -nice sit down option - music, great cocktails - Beats the buffet. I was just sad our cruise was a 3 -4 days of nice weather then 13 days downhill - too cold to enjoy lunch outside.

Would rather have a reasonable priced cruise, and options to choose from.

Sorry - I'm in the "keep specialty" camp:)

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Without the specialty dining we would have given up on NCL several cruises ago.

 

We're tempted to jump to Oceania or somewhere else, but we'll give NCL another kick at the can next month.

The specialty dining is not what it once was, sure it's slipping, Moderno is inedible, but Cagneys, Le Bistro, and La Cucina are still adequate most nights.

The MDR is a gong show.

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Without the specialty dining we would have given up on NCL several cruises ago.

 

We're tempted to jump to Oceania or somewhere else, but we'll give NCL another kick at the can next month.

The specialty dining is not what it once was, sure it's slipping, Moderno is inedible, but Cagneys, Le Bistro, and La Cucina are still adequate most nights.

The MDR is a gong show.

 

If dining is important to you ( but not entertainment). Give O a try. MDR is very good and the buffet is excellent, so one doesn't need to visit specialties every night.

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If you served identical food in the MDR and a specialty restaurant for a charge, some people would still go to specialty because they associate higher cost with higher quality. I am not saying that is the case, but so long as people are willing to spend companies are going to purposely limit MDR quality and service to create a delta to specialty dining

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Someone on one of my groups on “the site that shall not be named” posted this today.

 

Just left a Travel Show - NCL was there and was giving out the current alcohol list for the UBP. Also confirmed that Moderno will be closing on most ships due to low “interest”. One of the servers did mention this when we were on the Escape two weeks ago and I didn’t know if I should believe them or not....[emoji53]

 

I don’t know if the information is correct or not, but personally I won’t miss Moderno. If this is true, the question becomes what will take its place? Maybe the new specialty restaurant Q that will be on Bliss, or maybe Los Lobos?

 

 

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Interesting comments all....but did you ever cruise BEFORE Specialty Dining existed???

It was great!

As I contend, it is all hype, not better quality!

Just my opinion.

 

Yep, and we sometimes were assigned at tables the same time every night with people who we had nothing in common with, or were so gross (chewed with mouths open, slurping, etc) that half the time we skipped the meal and ate in the buffet. One couple even got into a fight and started throwing drinks at each other. I like being able to have just a table with DH and/or people we came with, and a meal at a time that I want.

 

Yes I'll agree MDR quality has gone down, but there are other things that have improved. I do miss the free lobster nights, and the bananas foster made table side, but I do like the ability to have freedom in my plans.

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Someone on one of my groups on “the site that shall not be named” posted this today.

 

Just left a Travel Show - NCL was there and was giving out the current alcohol list for the UBP. Also confirmed that Moderno will be closing on most ships due to low “interest”. One of the servers did mention this when we were on the Escape two weeks ago and I didn’t know if I should believe them or not....[emoji53]

 

I don’t know if the information is correct or not, but personally I won’t miss Moderno. If this is true, the question becomes what will take its place? Maybe the new specialty restaurant Q that will be on Bliss, or maybe Los Lobos?

 

 

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Moderno is awful if you have a Brazilian steakhouse near your home. The meats were tough and dry (we tried on both Getaway and Escape), and the salad bar was never stocked.

 

I'd be happy to see a Los Lobos or the Q one. Something with a little extra flavor to it. :D

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We have cruised a decent amount over the years and have tried specialty dinning on many NCL ships. Overall, I must admit to being underwhelmed. There have been a few really nice experiences, but not really worth the extra price.

 

 

 

To make it worse, it seems like NCL is pushing more and more in that direction. For example the Margaritaville experience on the Getaway and Breakaway.

 

 

 

So, I suggest we stop getting caught up in the hype of Specialty dining and demand that the cruise lines provide their best dining options at all dining rooms to all guests. No more paying extra for dining!

 

 

 

Crazy idea???

 

 

 

I have an idea. You don't think they are worth the added cost. Stop going.

 

I happen to disagree. I see the extra cost is attributable to 3 areas: food, ambience and service. Therefore, I find value in it.

 

 

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I just don't see the value in them so won't go. Maybe if we traveled without the kids. It seems that while the quality of the specialty restaurants isn't as good as what we'd get in a nice restaurant at home... so why spend extra money to do so on a ship that offers plenty of adequate to very good dining opportunities?

 

On the other hand - I really appreciate that others partake in specialty dining, which keeps the fares reasonable and the included options less crowded 😉.

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We have cruised a decent amount over the years and have tried specialty dinning on many NCL ships. Overall, I must admit to being underwhelmed. There have been a few really nice experiences, but not really worth the extra price.

 

To make it worse, it seems like NCL is pushing more and more in that direction. For example the Margaritaville experience on the Getaway and Breakaway.

 

So, I suggest we stop getting caught up in the hype of Specialty dining and demand that the cruise lines provide their best dining options at all dining rooms to all guests. No more paying extra for dining!

 

Crazy idea???

 

I suggest that you do what you want.

For us in 30 plus cruises we have ALWAYS enjoyed speciality dining. If we had to eat at the troughs we wouldn't be cruising.

Also if a particular restaurant is not supported it will be changed out.

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BEFORE "specialty" dining came to be, the food in the MDR was wonderful....beautifully presented, tasty and varied. Once they saw that folks could be enticed to spend more for the same food in a different venue, they moved the best dishes out of the MDR into the "specialty" venues.....and the decline in the included options continues.

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We wouldn't sail NCL without specialty dining since we didn't like the MDR food. But lots of other people are happy with the MDR food, and would rather have a lower fare than better quality food, and I wouldn't want to take that option away from them. I think costs increase due to inflation, and the cruise lines don't want to raise the base fare so they look for other ways to increase revenue.

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We have cruised a decent amount over the years and have tried specialty dinning on many NCL ships. Overall, I must admit to being underwhelmed. There have been a few really nice experiences, but not really worth the extra price.

 

To make it worse, it seems like NCL is pushing more and more in that direction. For example the Margaritaville experience on the Getaway and Breakaway.

 

So, I suggest we stop getting caught up in the hype of Specialty dining and demand that the cruise lines provide their best dining options at all dining rooms to all guests. No more paying extra for dining!

 

Crazy idea???

 

I refuse to pay extra to dine on a ship .On my last NCI cruise I had free specialty dining and did not find the food to be any different than the MDR .In addition ,the wait staff in the MDR was much nicer.

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I would keep the speciality dining as sometimes you want to go somewhere else to eat. We have sailed since pre-specialty dining options and we enjoy the choice. Now with the promos and Platinum we never have to pay for a venue change of scenery or dining options. I agree with those who wrote if you don't want to eat there, then don't pay to eat there. I agree with those in the having them or not having them will not lower the cruise price. I just go to enjoy cruising around and maybe sometimes going to a new place. There is always food and always something to drink and I don't have to prepare either. Win-win for me!:D

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On the sun they were advertising over the pa when the speciality restaurants had no reservations and were all available on a first come first served so far I have enjoyed the sushi place the most Mondreno seams to be the least popular one on board

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We have cruised a decent amount over the years and have tried specialty dinning on many NCL ships. Overall, I must admit to being underwhelmed. There have been a few really nice experiences, but not really worth the extra price.

 

To make it worse, it seems like NCL is pushing more and more in that direction. For example the Margaritaville experience on the Getaway and Breakaway.

 

So, I suggest we stop getting caught up in the hype of Specialty dining and demand that the cruise lines provide their best dining options at all dining rooms to all guests. No more paying extra for dining!

 

Crazy idea???

Probably not the responses you were anticipating, but yes, I think it's a crazy idea. Or at least, one I don't support.

 

I have an idea. You don't think they are worth the added cost. Stop going.

 

I happen to disagree. I see the extra cost is attributable to 3 areas: food, ambience and service. Therefore, I find value in it.

 

 

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^ this is why.

 

 

 

Stephen

 

.

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What's worse is the Free at Sea program being forced upon people who want to choose their own cabin. It's not Free if they're charging more.

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We have cruised a decent amount over the years and have tried specialty dinning on many NCL ships. Overall, I must admit to being underwhelmed. There have been a few really nice experiences, but not really worth the extra price.

 

To make it worse, it seems like NCL is pushing more and more in that direction. For example the Margaritaville experience on the Getaway and Breakaway.

 

So, I suggest we stop getting caught up in the hype of Specialty dining and demand that the cruise lines provide their best dining options at all dining rooms to all guests. No more paying extra for dining!

 

Crazy idea???

for me, yes, that is a crazy idea. First of all, every line has specialty dining now, started by NCL i will add about 20 years ago and second, not everyone feels like you do about the upscale dining. Many of us look forward, to what we consider a little better quality, nice atmosphere and usually outstanding service. don't forget a lot of people buy the SDP or get it as a perk. If you do not want specialty dining you do not have to take part, but I love the choice.

 

imADaneFan

We have never eaten at Maderos when it hasn't been are leat relatively crowded. I hope what you heard isn't fact, but if it is: NCL must know what they are doing.

Pappion: As for Brazilian State houses on land, I agree they are better but the price is over the top for many. We have rarely found the meat at Modernos dry or touch and the salad bar, though not as good as it used to be is still worth the money. Yes I have eaten at Brazilian steak houses in Dallas,Vegas, Los Angeles and on Aruba. In fact Aruba was the first we had, maybe 20 years ago.

Edited by newmexicoNita

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Interesting comments all....but did you ever cruise BEFORE Specialty Dining existed???

It was great!

As I contend, it is all hype, not better quality!

Just my opinion.

Well I slightly disagree with you. First of all, your first post said, Let's demand? What would you suggest we do, all protest after we get on the ship, peacefully or otherwise? Secondly yes, I have for one, and others here are the same have been cruising for 30 or more years. There was a time cruising was for the upper middle class and above only or a vacation you saved years for. Of course the dining experience was better, but it has changed now. If you want the old experience you go specialty dining. Maybe you would like to return to the days when kids rarely cruised? Should they close the kids clubs on all ships or offer cruises for adults only? Cruising has changed over the past 20 years. Maybe, for those who want to go the "old way" they should stick to upscale lines and pay twice as much for the adventure as they are paying now.

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What's worse is the Free at Sea program being forced upon people who want to choose their own cabin. It's not Free if they're charging more.
Do you want "guarantee" prices for "choose your own" staterooms? Good luck.

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I enjoy dining in the speciality restaurants. Always have. I have eaten in those restaurants from when I first sailed and paid my money everytime. I find the SDP to be good value for money, I just paid for a 4 night package on a forthcoming cruise.

 

Nobody is forced to dine in a specialty restaurant it is a choice. I like having choices. I like NCL because NCL gives me choices. I don't like it when someone wants to have my choices taken away because their choice is different to mine. Make your own choices and spend your own money and leave me to do the same.

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What's worse is the Free at Sea program being forced upon people who want to choose their own cabin. It's not Free if they're charging more.

 

Not true, when I made my recent reservation the first option was the room without any extras, although it was the same price for the cabin as if you took advantage of the Free at Sea offers.

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I have done specialty dining a few times; once with a 3 or 4 night package, and other times taking advantage of half-price promotions on the first night of the cruise. The food is certainly very good, but the portions are so large...often I am full before the entree comes. Last time I wasted half of my steak, and got my dessert packaged to take back to my cabin. I felt bad about the wasted steak and vegetables, but after a very filling French onion soup (my favorite) I could not eat much more. So I probably would not pay full price for specialty dining, but will occasionally take advantage of a sale. Maybe skip the appetizer next time!

 

 

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I refuse to pay extra to dine on a ship .On my last NCI cruise I had free specialty dining and did not find the food to be any different than the MDR .In addition ,the wait staff in the MDR was much nicer.

 

WOW

That is completely different than my experience on 3 cruises in last 3 years.

The food on 3 different NCL ships in the MDR was borderline inedible.

While on all 3 Le Bistro was as good as a restaurant on land and La Cucina, Cagneys and the Asian options were still well above the included food.

 

I would not sail NCL again if specialty restaurants were discontinued or if I could not get some type of included dining package.

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