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thunter1224

What is your opinion on Specialty restaurant plans ?

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We do speciality dining every night of the cruise. I just have better experiences than the MDR and the cost is insignificant to me.

 

We are sailing on Escape for NYE for 9 nights and I’m looking forward to trying out all the speciality restaurants in one trip.

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OP, as you can see, you are going to get every combination possible of opinions and answers. My first time on NCL, I had the same question. I found posts saying one restaurant was awful followed by posts saying it was great. Everyone has different tastes/likes/priorities/values. We ended up just choosing what we wanted, and that's what I've done since. It always works out.

 

On my first NCL cruise, I thought the lobster/filet combo at Teppanyaki was so good that we ended up eating there twice. On the most recent cruise, we didn't even eat there, but tried La Cecina instead. I thought the ossobuco was one of the best (and largest) I've ever had. Now throw in Food Republic and Pincho :eek: which are so amazing but not even included in the packages. The creme brûlée at Le Bistro is the best dessert on the ship. The pineapple at Moderno. The truffle mash at Cagney's. There is literally so much to choose from and such variation in tastes that we now just end up playing it by ear with a mix of all venues on our cruises (BUT FOOD REPUBLIC THO).

 

Just do you. Honestly, they are all worth it IMO. The MDRs, as people say, are fine--the Manhattan/Tropicana Room is worth it just for the ambiance one night. Some things are definitely better than others. I do like to check on the MDR menus ahead of time, choosing to eat there if something seems appealing. If not, plan for a specialty venue that evening. Whatever you decide, you're on vacation...enjoy it!

 

And remember...if ever you find yourself upset about the food choices you made, you can always drink it off ;p Happy cruising!

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We've had the package as a "free" perk and it was nice as a freebee but we wouldn't buy it. My general feeling is that between the MDR and the buffet I already have far more food than I could begin to eat. To me it makes little sense to buy more of something I already have too much of.

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Reading over the thread I think that where you live may be an influence. We live in a major metro area so a cruise is not some special opportunity to eat well or try ethnic cuisines. We can do far better at home. For us a cruise is not about food but about the ports. If I lived in a more rural area I think I'd be more interested in the specialty restaurants.

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i think everyone should try them once to get an opinion.

we no longer purchase speciality dining, choosing to simply eat at the MDRs and use our two free coupons for being PlatPlus. we dont find the specialities to be that much better than the MDR. we may or may not pick it as our second free at sea choice, depending upon itinerary. UBP is always our first pick, if we get a second choice its internet if we are hitting ports that may or may not have free wifi .

 

Recently back off the Gem - we got SDP as a perk when booking, we didn't use them as menus looked uninspiring so we just stuck to MDR (should've chosen internet instead!). You live and learn.

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Cagney's is probably one of the better choices and most consistent in my limited experience. La Cucina has been hit or miss for me. On the Pearl it was outstanding, on the Jewel, I've had better food at a mall food court. MDR's and buffet aren't bad, although I'm not a fan of the theme night's they are doing in the buffet, especially on the smaller ships where dining choices are a bit limited. Thankfully O'Sheehan's is still putting out wing's that are pretty darn good.

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I've not tried it yet but have it booked for our upcoming Bliss cruise. Being from SoCal it's hard to wrap my head around an added cost specialty Mexican place. Around here Mexican is cheap (and usually the cheaper it is the better it is;p). So paying extra to eat Mexican seems counter intuitive. It will be interesting to see how they upscale Mexican on NCL. Carnival has the Blue Iguana Cantina and that was really good. It's just tacos and burritos, really good though!

I did not book this one for our upcoming Bliss cruise but I'm wondering if it's maybe like Javier's in Newport Beach (also in Las Vegas)? I hope you like it.

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Interesting that some like LosLobos and some don't. Would love to hear both the pros and the cons.

 

We did Los Lobos on our last cruise on The Dawn! I forgot to mention that one, but it was the best meal I ever had on any ship and the one and only time in my entire life that I have ever had a food coma. I had to walk about 3 miles around the ship after that meal to stay awake and make it through the rest of the night! Favorites were the table-side guacamole, street corn, and the tamales. Oh, and the doughnut-like thing for dessert was yummy too. Almost two years ago, and I can still remember how good that meal was. I would book it again in a heartbeat!

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I did not book this one for our upcoming Bliss cruise but I'm wondering if it's maybe like Javier's in Newport Beach (also in Las Vegas)? I hope you like it.

 

 

Been to Javier's a couple of times at the Irvine Spectrum. You want amazing Mexican, Guaymas in Tiburon! (SF bay area)

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We did Los Lobos on our last cruise on The Dawn! I forgot to mention that one, but it was the best meal I ever had on any ship and the one and only time in my entire life that I have ever had a food coma. I had to walk about 3 miles around the ship after that meal to stay awake and make it through the rest of the night! Favorites were the table-side guacamole, street corn, and the tamales. Oh, and the doughnut-like thing for dessert was yummy too. Almost two years ago, and I can still remember how good that meal was. I would book it again in a heartbeat!

Thanks...I needed some first hand experience. I'll do one of my SDPs there.

 

@TLFG....no disagreement about "hole in the wall" Mexican restaurants. The majority of the ones I've tried have been both cheap and good.

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Our last cruise was on Carnival Miracle.. and we went to the steak house on the 1st night out .. since we learned that if you do the 1 st night ..you revive a free bottle of wine with dinner.. and the dinner was amazing .. Does anyone know if they do anything like that ( wine ) on NCL ?

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Our last cruise was on Carnival Miracle.. and we went to the steak house on the 1st night out .. since we learned that if you do the 1 st night ..you revive a free bottle of wine with dinner.. and the dinner was amazing .. Does anyone know if they do anything like that ( wine ) on NCL ?

Not to my knowledge. But, if you get the "perks" drinks package (UBP), then it's a moot point as you can get your drinks with dinner by just paying for the tip.

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So you spend a bunch of $$ on a cruise so you can eat worse food than you get within 5 miles of home:confused:

I don’t cruise for the food, we enjoy cruising because with 5 kids, there’s something for everyone, it’s easy. We had 5 teenagers on our last cruise, with teen appetites, eating 3 meals a day in restaurants on land would’ve bankrupted us! I don’t expect great food when they are serving thousand of people.

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We do speciality dining every night of the cruise. I just have better experiences than the MDR and the cost is insignificant to me.

 

We are sailing on Escape for NYE for 9 nights and I’m looking forward to trying out all the speciality restaurants in one trip.

 

seeya on board! :-)

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I have only sailed on Norwegian once with another one scheduled in October. We did not like the free food on Norwegian. We were grateful that we had chosen the specialty food package. We really enjoyed Modernos and Teppanyaki. Cagneys was good too.

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Reading over the thread I think that where you live may be an influence. We live in a major metro area so a cruise is not some special opportunity to eat well or try ethnic cuisines. We can do far better at home. For us a cruise is not about food but about the ports. If I lived in a more rural area I think I'd be more interested in the specialty restaurants.

 

Completely relate. We live in Manhattan and eat out probably 6 times a week and generally travel to "the ethnic community" for the authentic product if that's what we want. There's no way "cruise food" can compete with what I get at home. The only thing we can't get here is "a buffet" (except for Indian), so I'm trilled with "take as much of what you want" on the Lido. We rarely do the MDR or the specialty restaurants although, being platinum, we are entitled to 2 per cruise. In addition, I'm very health conscious, and I've never seen anything healthy (except for the Brazilian buffet) on any of the ship menus.

 

So....my opinion: Specialty dining is unnecessary and a complete waste if you want healthy food.

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First Time on NCL.. We will be sailing on the Bliss next year. and I see there are specialty restaurant plans that we can purchase before sailing to use. Last cruise was on Carnival and we ate at the steak house & the Chef's Table .. and had a great meal .. I am trying to decide if you think these packages are worth the money ??? Or should we just stick to the free dining ?

 

 

Our TA got us 8 free specialty restaurant dinners on a 12 night cruise.

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For us, the specialties are not about the food as much as the atmosphere. The MDR's are packed tight with people and servers are running (okay, moving quickly) from one place to the next. They're noisy and we rarely have an enjoyable meal with all the hustle and bustle going on around us. They're okay for breakfast and lunch but dinners are just too busy.

 

The specialties are smaller, service is always better, and the noise level is [usually] much less. We are much more relaxed therefore we enjoy our meal so much more and I never leave with a headache. :D

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The specialties are smaller, service is always better, and the noise level is [usually] much less. We are much more relaxed therefore we enjoy our meal so much more and I never leave with a headache. :D

 

Yes this is my experience too. When I’m on vacation I want a relaxing experience and the MDRs and buffet are too chaotic for that. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one dining at a speciality restaurant (and several times have actually been surrounded by empty tables).

 

I find the speciality restaurants to have slightly better food but overall the atmosphere is what draws me back.

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We always eat most meals in specialty restaurants. On the largest ships the MDR, taste and savor are fine. With regard to Los Lobos, I've live in Texas 30 years and it's just about the best Tex-Mex I've had. Can't wait until December when we're on the Dawn again.

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First Time on NCL.. We will be sailing on the Bliss next year. and I see there are specialty restaurant plans that we can purchase before sailing to use. Last cruise was on Carnival and we ate at the steak house & the Chef's Table .. and had a great meal .. I am trying to decide if you think these packages are worth the money ??? Or should we just stick to the free dining ?

 

You should never ask about food, since it is soooo subjective..I was on the Getaway last year and took the 3 specialty dining venues free package including Cagney's, Teppanyaki's and one more...we thought all were VERY good, much better than the usual MDR free dining, but I have cruised 36x, and ALL my specialty dining venues I have tried on RCI, Disney, NCL, HAL, Princess, etc., have all been much better than the MDR, but they should be better ...I don't mind paying a bit more for better food, better options, better ambiance ( VERY important to me- more romantic, quiet, less people, better service, etc..), less hectic, and more. for my wife & I, it is always worth the extra splurge for some better food, but others don't..some are not interested, some are happy with the free MDR food, some are cheap ( like some of my friends ;p..), whatever the reason..sometimes I don't feel like dining with 1500 other people with 300 waiters running back & forth and eating most of the time ( 80% ) fairly mediocre food IMO..one night on the Disney Dream, we had a fantastic meal at a table with a window over looking the sea..we ate at sunset with amazing views of the sunset....service was an "A", food great..soft music...low lighting or candlelight...fantastic experience...can't get that in the MDR...if it's a free perk, give it a shot...

 

Big Al

Edited by big al
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So far I am a fan of NCLs especially when gotten as a promo. However I was not a fan of Carnivals. Wasn’t worth the price.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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I just sailed on NCL Pearl to Alaska (August 11, 2018). We did not buy the specialty dining package or pay the extra charge to eat in any of the special restaurants like Cagney's, the teppanyaki, LeBistro French food or the Brazilian restaurant. In speaking with other passengers they felt it was not worth the extra $$.

 

The food served in the Indigo and Summer Palace dining room is the same. The main dining room was fine.

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If you do want to do Cagney's, make sure you pay attention to when the reservations open up. It fills up fast. We don't have a reservation for that one and I swear I was making reservations the first week that they were available. I also found that some restaurants were only available on the app and some were only available on the website. It may have been some weird glitch this summer, but it was ongoing for a week or 2. So.... pay attention to the dates, and try the app and the website. Or, I suppose you could call and talk to a human. :)

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