Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
IDL

Cruise line rationale for Specialty Restaurant upcharge

Recommended Posts

4 hours ago, IDL said:

Obviously this is a profit center for the cruise lines that has no direct correlation to their incremental cost of providing the meal. To the extent the profit from this and other ancillary revenue sources keeps the general cruise price reasonable it is what it is. 

 

 

The complete dining experience in Murano’s does have a significant increased cost.  The quality of the food, the preparation and presentation, the smaller space itself, and the added staff (compared to the MDR) are an incremental cost.  I do agree that the profit margin is also significantly higher.  The Speciality restaurants offer some of the best dining experiences on the ship.  Many people chose not to partake, but many of us do.

The  bottom line for many people is that a cruise line with a Specialty dining option is desirable.  Easy enough to avoid if you are not interested.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, IDL said:

 

No concern on what anyone chooses to spend, just what I spend.  I normally travel Aqua Class so already paying a premium via Blu and have therefor I don't have a compelling reason to utilize the Specialty restaurants.

Maybe you should try the specialty restaurants, you could be pleasantly surprised.

You accept the upcharge of Aqua Class which cost more than dining every night in say Murano, and their cabins are generally located in inferior locations to that of standard balcony cabins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Hlitner said:

….The psychology of marketing is fascinating and taught in every business school.

 

Hank

 

You are so right! And after sailing Celebrity for many years and being on Cruise Critic for even more, I have often thought that Celebrity knows it's customer base better than any other line I sail. They know exactly what they need to say and do to get people to spend money....whether for suites or drink packages or specialty dining....and as we know, it's always about the money. In their pocket. Anyone who has spent hours wading through online travel sites trying to figure out the best price with or without this perk or that perk will understand what I mean. Celebrity has made a science out of appealing to our senses and sensibilities to sell their product, and not only to sell it, but to make us feel like we've somehow gotten a "deal."  

 

My personal favorite:  I have read thread after thread about the pros and cons of upgrading to the premium drink package. I've often read comments from people who say that one of the reasons they upgrade isn't just for the better wines and bar choices but also for the premium waters....such as San Pellegrino....and they drink a lot of water. OK. I just got back from my local grocery store where I can buy a bottle of San Pellegrino for $1.88. That's retail at a no-bargain store. Considering how many thousands of cases Celebrity probably buys in a year, how much do they pay? Even though my classic beverage package includes drinks up to $9/day, I can only get "regular" water....not the "premium" water. You have to give a business props when they have the intestinal fortitude to sell bubbly water as a "premium" drink.

 

I say this with tongue in cheek as I enjoy my Celebrity cruises, their ships, and passenger demographic, and I've bought into some of their marketing ploys, too. For a business, the way to make money is to keep pushing the envelope until you find out your customers' breaking point, and then you back off just a tad to their highest tolerance level where you maximize profits. I'm guessing this is how Celebrity arrived at the $50/pp cost of a specialty restaurant meal.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, mickey89 said:

Maybe you should try the specialty restaurants, you could be pleasantly surprised.

You accept the upcharge of Aqua Class which cost more than dining every night in say Murano, and their cabins are generally located in inferior locations to that of standard balcony cabins.

Not really true.  We've never paid much more for AQ than a standard 1A and sometimes less (as weird as it seems).  And we loved the location of our AQ cabins.  But with that aside, I agree, if you are paying more than $30-$40 pp a night for AQ then you could just get a dining package and enjoy all the specialty restaurants.  

 

We don't do specialty restaurants because we get good meals included with our fare.   We are satisfied with the MDR or Blu.  Ten nights on the Equinox 2 weeks ago and the MDR was great.  But I'm happy people do because that helps profits which helps them the prices decent.  So to all the folks that go to the specialty restaurants, I thank you.  Now my wife will make it up in the casino so she will help keep your prices low - you're welcome 🙂

Edited by Duanerice1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are re-thinking booking the specialty restaurants as the prices are getting too high.  On our most recent cruise we did Qsine twice and Tuscan once.  While the food was decent in Tuscan, I don't feel it offers much of a difference over what you can get in the MDR, therefore not worth the upcharge.  We won't be doing Tuscan again.

We would definitely do Qsine again as it offers something totally different.  but sadly it is being replaced by LPC and the upcharge is just too high.

We won't be booking any specialty restaurants in advance for upcoming cruises, however if there are decent specials onboard at discounted prices we will consider it.

 

I understand the comment re the MDR and the fact it is not as private.  Yes you can get a 2 top but you are very close to other tables.  We typically ask for a 2 top and do often chat with people at the table next to us and have had some enjoyable conversations.  Sometimes it is just a quick hello enjoy your dinner type of thing, and other times a longer chat.  Most people will understand if you just say hello and aren't interested in conversation.   However if you are an introvert I can see how this might not be desirable. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/25/2018 at 7:27 PM, dateacher said:

We always eat in the MDR and have never shared a table.  It has always been just the two of us unless we met people and we decided to get a larger table.  Why do you need a specialty restaurant to eat alone?

You're the person I need to ask. It has been a long time since I have been on Celebrity. Is the food in the MDR bad?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/25/2018 at 8:47 PM, helen haywood said:

After reading the posts of someone who had purchased a dining plan on Reflection but was unable to secure reservations of anything other than 5:30 or 9 once onboard...it sounds like they must be selling specialty reservations at their high prices quite well!

As was alluded to in the thread there are plenty of deals being done so there are many dining who don’t pay full price.  I’m not talking the discounts to be had according to your Captain's Club loyalty.  Just special deals.  Personally I hate it.  If there is a price that needs to be charged then just stick to it and there’s is no fight for space and time.  Special deals cheapen it to me.

 

Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Tinknock50 said:

You're the person I need to ask. It has been a long time since I have been on Celebrity. Is the food in the MDR bad?

Actually it is pretty good.  I hate the term foodie but food is very important to my husband and me. We usually don't mind what it costs as long as it is great.  We consider the food in the MDR great sometimes, good others.  The few times it was a real miss, we just asked for something else.  We go in knowing it is not the best meal we will ever eat but we don't go on cruises for the food.  We only eat in the buffet for lunch (we don't eat breakfast).  We also don't eat in the specialty restaurants because no one has convinced me they are that much better than the MDR and we have great restaurants at home. We may try one of the specialty restaurants on our next cruise but so far we have been fine in the MDR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Tinknock50 said:

You're the person I need to ask. It has been a long time since I have been on Celebrity. Is the food in the MDR bad?

The food in the MDR is absolutely NOT bad and is in fact perfectly fine without dining in specialties. If you want to dine in one as a change of pace or as a treat fine, but it's not necessary! In fact if on M-class ships where the only choices are Tuscan, Qsine (or now Le Petite Chef) and Sushi on 5 we avoid the specialtie completely and manage to have wonderful cruises. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree that food in MDR is fine.  On our last cruise we had better meals in MDR than in Tuscan.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/25/2018 at 3:00 PM, Cruise Junky said:

I think we would need to see actual stats to see if anyone ever pays full price or if most get it at a discount.

 

I don't go if I don't get a discount and I usually do two specialty restaurants on a 7 day sailing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/25/2018 at 3:47 PM, helen haywood said:

After reading the posts of someone who had purchased a dining plan on Reflection but was unable to secure reservations of anything other than 5:30 or 9 once onboard...it sounds like they must be selling specialty reservations at their high prices quite well!

 

Always been able to secure a reservation to the Lawn Club which I really like at a discount at an in between time onboard. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/25/2018 at 10:27 PM, dateacher said:

We always eat in the MDR and have never shared a table.  It has always been just the two of us unless we met people and we decided to get a larger table.  Why do you need a specialty restaurant to eat alone?

 

If you do the open seating dining in the MDR I found it is difficult to get a larger table. We like to share but the last few years most of the tables available have been for two. So if it was a long wait we would just take the table for two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Charles4515 said:

 

If you do the open seating dining in the MDR I found it is difficult to get a larger table. We like to share but the last few years most of the tables available have been for two. So if it was a long wait we would just take the table for two.

On our last two cruises, we joined new friends who were two couples and another time it was three couples and had no trouble finding larger tables. We usually eat around 8PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, dateacher said:

On our last two cruises, we joined new friends who were two couples and another time it was three couples and had no trouble finding larger tables. We usually eat around 8PM

 

Must have to do with the time. We were doing 7 or 7:30 which are pretty popular times. The way we look at it is that for 8 or later we might as well have a fixed late seating. We don't like too early 5 or 6 and we don't like 8 or later. That is a big reason we don't book traditional anymore. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Charles4515 said:

 

Must have to do with the time. We were doing 7 or 7:30 which are pretty popular times. The way we look at it is that for 8 or later we might as well have a fixed late seating. We don't like too early 5 or 6 and we don't like 8 or later. That is a big reason we don't book traditional anymore. 

We like the fact that without fixed seating we can choose and we rarely have to wait long. We just get a pager and go to the nearest bar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/25/2018 at 7:43 PM, IDL said:

What is the Cruise line's rationale for Specialty Restaurant upcharges of $50 or higher per guest, per meal?  As the "base" price of a meal is already included in the cruise price the upcharge should theoretically be the difference between the meal already paid for and the value of the upgraded meal.  Also there there should be no additional tip as that too has been accounted for.  At one time the Cruise line of "defense" was the upcharge was for an additional tip (though that did not stop the practice of asking for an additional gratuity at the end of the meal anyway) though that rationale makes no sense at the $50 price level.

The same rational why a car manufacturer charges you £700 extra for a nicer paint finish that costs them about £5 extra (friend designs car spray systems and said the true cost difference pennies) - because there's sufficient people that are prepared to pay it to make it worthwhile charging it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/25/2018 at 10:55 PM, shipshape sam said:

 

That is an interesting reason for charging.  Never having seen a speciality  close to full, it would seem they could charge a little less.  😀.

 

S class ships have 4/5 speciality restaurants plus BLU and Luminae depending on how to count the Lawn and Sushi.  With multiple seating each evening assuming free, it might be close to having everyone try at least one meal in one of the restaurants.  Not counting the restrictions of BLU or Luminae in calculation.  I think your point though is interesting to think about as to why they charge.  I think though ultimately it is for them to make more money and they will raise the prices till they reach that point of profit maximization which my guess is about where they are now (till the next round of price increases) with discounting.  I remember $20 on M class in mid 2000's.

 

 

Initially the reason for the charge was traffic control but don't think that is the case now since many of the Specialties are often almost empty and they have deep discounting.   Believe now it is more a case of keeping up with the Jones's since every other cruise line has them.   We only do specialties for a special occasion and if we have a lot of OBC leftover.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, I will say that I think the food in the MDR is very good (really, my only complaint with the MDR is the service during lunch).  We did Aqua last time and LOVED Blu.  Did one evening in Murano because another couple we were hanging out with had booked there one night to celebrate their anniversary and invited us to join them.  We did and thought it was very good, but not really any better than Blu as far as the food was concerned.  Yes, we had more people waiting on us, but we kind of considered it to be "unnecessary" and if anything a bit intrusive to trying to carry on conversation and enjoy each other's company, so to each his own.  We got to thinking about the upcharge later and asking ourselves if it was really worth it, and the answer was a resounding "No," especially in the context of having already paid more for Aqua/Blu.  

 

This may not sit well with guests who are not in Aqua/Blu or Suite/Luminae, but I feel like there should be a sliding scale of payment towards the specialty restaurants.  I'm just going to make up numbers here for the sake of illustration.  Let's say that dinner in the MDR is worth $35 per person, that dinner in Blu is worth $50, and that dinner in Luminae is worth $75, and that everyone's paying the full upcharge of $50.  I'll probably never be in a suite myself, but why should suite guests effectively pay $125 per person for dinner in Murano ($75 for the dinner cost built into their fare + $50 upcharge), while Aqua guests effectively pay $100 ($50 for the dinner cost built into their fare + $50 upcharge), and others pay $85 ($35 for the dinner cost built into their fare + $50 upcharge)?  I think a $50 per person upcharge is way too much anyhow, but I find it particularly hard to justify when already paying an upcharge for Aqua/Blu. 

Edited by SunsetPoint

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎10‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 4:21 PM, SunsetPoint said:

First, I will say that I think the food in the MDR is very good (really, my only complaint with the MDR is the service during lunch).  We did Aqua last time and LOVED Blu.  Did one evening in Murano because another couple we were hanging out with had booked there one night to celebrate their anniversary and invited us to join them.  We did and thought it was very good, but not really any better than Blu as far as the food was concerned.  Yes, we had more people waiting on us, but we kind of considered it to be "unnecessary" and if anything a bit intrusive to trying to carry on conversation and enjoy each other's company, so to each his own.  We got to thinking about the upcharge later and asking ourselves if it was really worth it, and the answer was a resounding "No," especially in the context of having already paid more for Aqua/Blu.  

 

This may not sit well with guests who are not in Aqua/Blu or Suite/Luminae, but I feel like there should be a sliding scale of payment towards the specialty restaurants.  I'm just going to make up numbers here for the sake of illustration.  Let's say that dinner in the MDR is worth $35 per person, that dinner in Blu is worth $50, and that dinner in Luminae is worth $75, and that everyone's paying the full upcharge of $50.  I'll probably never be in a suite myself, but why should suite guests effectively pay $125 per person for dinner in Murano ($75 for the dinner cost built into their fare + $50 upcharge), while Aqua guests effectively pay $100 ($50 for the dinner cost built into their fare + $50 upcharge), and others pay $85 ($35 for the dinner cost built into their fare + $50 upcharge)?  I think a $50 per person upcharge is way too much anyhow, but I find it particularly hard to justify when already paying an upcharge for Aqua/Blu. 

This is aligned with my initial premise that the upcharge should factor in what you are already paying for as a component of your cruise fare.  As others have noted though this is purely a profit center driven by supply and demand and not a cost plus economic model as the cruise line is looking to build their ancillary revenue stream from all sources above and beyond the cruise fare (akin to airlines- have a captive audience and figure out what else you can charge for).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I don't think there should be an adjusted price based on room. At Concierge level and below, you know you are getting the agreed upon room,  meals included served in the MDR, minimal beverage choices, and access to much of the ship. The upcharge you pay for Aqua is to have access to Blu and the Persian gardens...or whatever they call it or comes with it. Blu is the selling point of Aqua and that's what you're paying for. A suite....you're paying for your own restaurant and a bigger room. The upcharges have been already justified...at least in my book.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All you state is true Sesame Street person but the point is the Specialty restaurants charge is beyond the scope of what any cruiser paid for their cruise and if you already paid an upcharge via Aqua Class for access to the Blu dining room than the additional (i.e. incremental) upcharge should be proportionally less than a passenger who has not paid for the Blu upgrade.   If the cruise line monitored a lower Aqua Class take rate for Specialty restaurants they may consider this as a way to squeeze more money out of those passengers like a casino offering slots machines at decreasing dollar (change) values to increase their odds at milking more money out of your pocket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, IDL said:

All you state is true Sesame Street person but the point is the Specialty restaurants charge is beyond the scope of what any cruiser paid for their cruise and if you already paid an upcharge via Aqua Class for access to the Blu dining room than the additional (i.e. incremental) upcharge should be proportionally less than a passenger who has not paid for the Blu upgrade.   If the cruise line monitored a lower Aqua Class take rate for Specialty restaurants they may consider this as a way to squeeze more money out of those passengers like a casino offering slots machines at decreasing dollar (change) values to increase their odds at milking more money out of your pocket.

 

For starters, Animal is not a Sesame Street muppet. He's from the actual Muppet Show. He the drummer for the muppet band Electric Mayhem. I have them tattooed on my leg and forearm. I'm a drummer. He's my favorite muppet.

 

Specialty restaurants are optional. Every person on that boat paid for a certain type of room with meals and drinks included. Some paid more for what they consider a better dining option and perks. Some did not. 

 

The price you pay for the specialty restaurants is for, hopefully a little better service and the sections are a little smaller so the servers can be a little more attentive. You are paying for different options that available in the MDR. However, at the end of the day, it's still a choice. Life is about choices. 

 

And to your casino reference. They do have promos to try to encourage playing. They should, they should want to be profitable. However, those promos aren't based off of room status. Anyone can take advantage. Just like anyone can take advantage of buying a dinner package and saving by buying in bulk.

 

Life is about choices.

Choose to pay for Specialty dining

Choose to pay for Aqua

Choose to pay for a suite

Choose to pay for an Oceanview

Choose to complain about the way Specialty dining is not set up in your favor 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, txflood33 said:

 

For starters, Animal is not a Sesame Street muppet. He's from the actual Muppet Show. He the drummer for the muppet band Electric Mayhem. I have them tattooed on my leg and forearm. I'm a drummer. He's my favorite muppet.

 

Specialty restaurants are optional. Every person on that boat paid for a certain type of room with meals and drinks included. Some paid more for what they consider a better dining option and perks. Some did not. 

 

The price you pay for the specialty restaurants is for, hopefully a little better service and the sections are a little smaller so the servers can be a little more attentive. You are paying for different options that available in the MDR. However, at the end of the day, it's still a choice. Life is about choices. 

 

And to your casino reference. They do have promos to try to encourage playing. They should, they should want to be profitable. However, those promos aren't based off of room status. Anyone can take advantage. Just like anyone can take advantage of buying a dinner package and saving by buying in bulk.

 

Life is about choices.

Choose to pay for Specialty dining

Choose to pay for Aqua

Choose to pay for a suite

Choose to pay for an Oceanview

Choose to complain about the way Specialty dining is not set up in your favor 

Not complaining simply making an observation how the cruise line's revenue streams are enhanced via these ancillary revenue streams and charging what the market will bear without regard to the underlying cost.  Enjoy you Muppet tats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...