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SleepingUgly

Has anyone NOT done any specialty dining?

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Just wondering if anyone has selected to NOT partake in specialty dining on any recent cruises and what your experience may have been? 

 

We will be on the 12-night Silhouette holiday cruise and, originally, I was thinking we'd do a dinner in Murano's and another one in Tuscan Grill or Quisine, but they've since increased the prices.  Quisine (or Le Petit Chef now) is @ $55 per person; for our family of five, that would be $275.  Murano's would be $65 per person and Tuscan Grill would be $60 per person.  I'm finding it tough to justify those rates when there is already-paid-for food in the MDR and the buffet, haha.  Plus, I'm not even sure if specialty restaurants will allow children, and our youngest is eight years of age (two other children are older teens).  

 

We are not adverse to fine dining and our entire family really enjoys eating at nice restaurants every now and then.  However, as noted above, we've already paid for meals that will be offered elsewhere on the ship - and while it's been a while since our last cruise (also on Celebrity), I do recall we enjoyed the MDR b/c it was so different from usual restaurants in that your servers know you after just a couple of days and little things like your drink of choice waiting for you when you arrive at the table are what makes MDR dining so unique to a cruise - so I'm hesitating on shelling out another $500-$600 on two meals for our family.  I know, I know - the per-person cost is still much less than places such as Le Cirque or The Inn at Little Washington and other Michelin-starred restaurants, but we also live in a large metro area here in the US so we have easy access to fine dining, and we've also eaten at such places whenever we travel globally, so it's not as if the experience on the ship will be unique.  The only exception may be Le Petit Chef - more for the experience than the food, and may be fun / interesting for the kids.  

 

Anyway, just curious if anyone has NOT done any specialty dining on a cruise, and what your thoughts / experience may have been? TIA!

 

Linda

 

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We have never used anything other than MDR on all of our recent cruises (Celebrity, Cunard, P&O, NCL). I would sooner use the up-sell fee on one of my favourite restaurants at home where I knew what I was going to get.

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Haven’t done specialty for a few years.

 

not the fan of Monaro that some are.

 

used to do the steakhouse on Princess till they changed from a seperate restaurant to a part of the buffet area roped off, just not the same ambience 

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Never on Celebrity. We find the meals and selections in the MDR perfect for our tastes. We did once on RC because we were given two free meals for a specialty dining of our choice. It was good but nothing I need to spend extra for. 

Edited by davekathy

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We too have not been to a specialty restaurant in a few years.

The price has gotten out of hand and the food and service has declined.

Besides, our meals last week on Infinity, along with the service was excellent.

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Dining is very subjective so many will disagree with me but here goes.  We enjoy the main dining room and do not book the other venues.  To sit down in a massive beautiful elegant room with linen tablecloths and napkins and clean cutlery for each course is a wonderful way to dine. It feels special to us.  We've dined on prime rib, chicken cordon bleu, lobster, escargot, wilted spinach goat cheese salads, fancy pasta dishes,  etc. etc.  A sommelier will serve us wine and make recommendations.  Some wait staff are better than others but that goes elsewhere too.  Our main experience is outstanding service.  And we like that by the end of the cruise we know our wait staff and a bit about their culture.

 

To us that $100 (more or less) can be used to go out to another nice restaurant at home when we're back to reality and cooking our own meals.  If money were no object we might feel differently but cruising is a lovely luxury by itself.

 

Having said all that there is one small exception.  We usually go to Sushi on Five for lunch one day.  It provides something we can't get anywhere else on the ship and it lets us have a leisurely meal while the buffet is still crazy and it's too late to for the dining room which closes at 1 or 1:30.  Cost wise between us it's $25 or so.  The a la carte menu provides wonderful shareable items and two trays of rolls and a tray of dumplings will fill us nicely.

 

One other thing.  If you have a set time for dining and you happen to sit with some wonderful people it's hard to give up a night of their company to go to another venue.  Upon occasion we have had the most fabulous table mates and dining with them each night was part of what made that cruise special.

 

Whatever you decide, enjoy it!

 

 

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6 minutes ago, LiveToCruise99 said:

Dining is very subjective so many will disagree with me but here goes.  We enjoy the main dining room and do not book the other venues.  To sit down in a massive beautiful elegant room with linen tablecloths and napkins and clean cutlery for each course is a wonderful way to dine. It feels special to us.  We've dined on prime rib, chicken cordon bleu, lobster, escargot, wilted spinach goat cheese salads, fancy pasta dishes,  etc. etc.  A sommelier will serve us wine and make recommendations.  Some wait staff are better than others but that goes elsewhere too.  Our main experience is outstanding service.  And we like that by the end of the cruise we know our wait staff and a bit about their culture.

 

To us that $100 (more or less) can be used to go out to another nice restaurant at home when we're back to reality and cooking our own meals.  If money were no object we might feel differently but cruising is a lovely luxury by itself.

 

Having said all that there is one small exception.  We usually go to Sushi on Five for lunch one day.  It provides something we can't get anywhere else on the ship and it lets us have a leisurely meal while the buffet is still crazy and it's too late to for the dining room which closes at 1 or 1:30.  Cost wise between us it's $25 or so.  The a la carte menu provides wonderful shareable items and two trays of rolls and a tray of dumplings will fill us nicely.

 

One other thing.  If you have a set time for dining and you happen to sit with some wonderful people it's hard to give up a night of their company to go to another venue.  Upon occasion we have had the most fabulous table mates and dining with them each night was part of what made that cruise special.

 

Whatever you decide, enjoy it!

 

 

Brilliant comments that echo my thoughts exactly

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We're content with Select Dining in the MDR. On the rare occasion that the menu doesn't appeal to us, we have tea or  dinner in the Oceanview. 

 

 

 

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We enjoy the specialty restaurants, some more than others, but we refuse to pay those prices.  Most cruises we have been able to get 50% off the first night, so we may go to Murano on the first night (s-class).  The rest of the cruise we are fine with the main DR unless there is another substantial discount offered, even if we have OBC to spend.  We have done 32 cruises and have yet to dine in the buffet for dinner on any cruise line.

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W’ve done maybe once a cruise and miss that a number of times. I agree with the OP,  love the SleepingUgly!, of finding the MDR quite fine. 

 

Always surprised at the ‘terrible, inedible, wedding buffet level’, comments. And I enjoy good restaurants. But we’ve all raved about some restaurant and had friends say they hated it. Heck, tried Blu one cruise and didn’t think it was worth it. 

 

Nice to have the options. Keeps the cruising costs down by many using the Specialties. 

 

And yes, aware the OP asked if anyone has never dined there, but couldn’t keep from blabbing. 

 

Den

Edited by Denny01

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WE only do Specialties for a special occasion and then only if we have some OBC left.  Just not worth it to us and I would never do a package. 

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We usually dine in Blu and mostly bypass the specialty restaurants.  However, when we are on Silhouette, we cannot pass up Lawn Club Grill.  We have not dined in Qsine since the implementation of LPC.  I think children would really love the animation.  I would look out for some discounts.  Ask at the restaurant itself or look out for waiters selling outside the Oceanview.  We have just gotten off the Silhouette and LPC was going for 50% off.  People were complaining about all the upselling, esp outside the Oceanview.  However, a holiday sailing might be different.  Enjoy your cruise.

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31 minutes ago, LiveToCruise99 said:

Dining is very subjective so many will disagree with me but here goes.  We enjoy the main dining room and do not book the other venues.  To sit down in a massive beautiful elegant room with linen tablecloths and napkins and clean cutlery for each course is a wonderful way to dine. It feels special to us.  We've dined on prime rib, chicken cordon bleu, lobster, escargot, wilted spinach goat cheese salads, fancy pasta dishes,  etc. etc.  A sommelier will serve us wine and make recommendations.  Some wait staff are better than others but that goes elsewhere too.  Our main experience is outstanding service.  And we like that by the end of the cruise we know our wait staff and a bit about their culture.

 

To us that $100 (more or less) can be used to go out to another nice restaurant at home when we're back to reality and cooking our own meals.  If money were no object we might feel differently but cruising is a lovely luxury by itself.

 

 

Thanks, and this is exactly how I feel (but you said it so much more eloquently!).  On our last cruise (granted, it was 10 years ago) on Celebrity, the MDR dining experience was very special in and of itself, and is definitely not something that can be repeated anywhere else.  To me, the specialty dining options do not seem like anything unique than what may be offered elsewhere, and what with the mixed reviewed I've been reading about in the past months, I think we will stick with the MDR.  

 

Thanks again!

 

Linda

 

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To be honest i’m not sure whether anyone has done a mix of dining or no speciality restaurants at all makes much of a difference, just about everyone will have used the main dining room and buffet at some point. Personally we have done a mix of everything  on the ship and enjoyed them all for different reasons. Is the food and service in say Murano better than the main dining room ? for us very much yes. Is the food and service in the main dining room more that acceptable, pretty much also yes. It really is a case of is speciality dining worth the extra to you as an individual and that’s very much a personal thing. To us it is worth every penny but we would still more than enjoy the other options if it was not available.

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Thank you, everyone!  It is reassuring to read from so many veteran cruisers that specialty dining is not a "must-do" on Celebrity.  I think we will stick with the MDR, unless we really need to find a way to spend that OBC later on, and then maybe we will try for Qsine (sorry, I spelled it incorrectly in my original post).  We have set dining and I remember how it was so nice to be familiar with our wait staff, who knew what we all preferred to eat each night, and were always joking around and extra-friendly with the kids, entertaining them with napkin folding and other "tricks".  This is one of the things I loved about our MDR dining experience in the past and am looking forward to repeating it again.  I know some things have changed, but it sounds as if the "uniqueness" of dining in the MDR has still remained the same, I think (and hope!).

 

Thanks again!

 

Linda

 

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We have never eaten in anywhere else but Blu (this will be ur 4th cruise with celebrity) we think the food is lovely and like other people have said why should we have to pay more when we have already paid a decent amount for our cruise!! 

Edited by Lolabunny488

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On our first cruise with Celebrity we were in a regular balcony, and ate all meals in MDR except for one meal in Murano.  Murano food was inedible and service was poor.  On that cruise, for every meal in MDR, the food and service were better than that one experience in Murano.  Our subsequent cruises have only been in Aqua or Sky Suite and we love Blu and Luminae so much that we just do not want to go anywhere else and have to have new staff learn our food preferences.  

Edited by CEOofVacation

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2 minutes ago, Lolabunny488 said:

We have never eaten in anywhere else but Blu (this will be ur 4th cruise with celebrity) we think the food is lovely and like other people have said why should we have to pay more when we have already paid a decent amount for our cruise!! 

 

... if you were to purchase (& pay for) a Ford Escape, would you honestly expect your dealer to deliver a Ford Expedition Max to you at no additional charge???  🙄🙄🙄

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8 minutes ago, avian777 said:

 

... if you were to purchase (& pay for) a Ford Escape, would you honestly expect your dealer to deliver a Ford Expedition Max to you at no additional charge???  🙄🙄🙄

 

NO.

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16 minutes ago, grandgeezer said:

 

NO.

 

16 minutes ago, grandgeezer said:

 

NO.

 

24 minutes ago, avian777 said:

 

... if you were to purchase (& pay for) a Ford Escape, would you honestly expect your dealer to deliver a Ford Expedition Max to you at no additional charge???  🙄🙄🙄

 

More like going from a Ford Escape without  air conditioning, to going to one with air, certainly not an Expedition Mas

Edited by dkjretired

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I am not a fan of the long drawn out dining times I usually experience in the MDR’s on any ship.  It’s just not my thing..makes me think I am at a banquet hall at the local Marriott. 

 

Buffet or specialty for me 75% of the time...choices are good. 

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We usually visit Murano once or twice a cruise depending on our mood and discounts available and the amount of OBC. At this point, we've eaten there so many times (and they change the menu so seldom) that we could easily skip it. We don't care for any of the specialties on the M-class ships since they've removed the Ocean Liners/Murano type restaurant. The MDR of Blu are perfectly lovely and we'd not feel the least deprived dining there exclusively. There's something to be said for the spoiling and attentiveness showered on you by the regular waitstaff who have come to know you and your likes and preferences.

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We do specialty dining because we usually have obc to burn & we do enjoy all the specialty venues tbh.

 

That said there's nothing (repeat NOTHING) like the joyous fun of getting to know your MDR service team and seeing them every evening. It's so great and often is a highlight of our vacation.

 

Because of this we'd be perfectly happy in the MDR if that was our option and you will be too. If the food isn't what you wish for, order something else, your server wants you to be happy and it shows. Dining's an event on a cruise ship and the MDR is the main attraction. 

 

Really -  best news is that no matter where you eat, it's all as wonderful as you make it.

 

(We'll be on the sailing before yours so we'll be those sad, pitiful looking folks you giddy people pass as you climb on board! Hope you have the time of your life!)

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Us never. We have been on so many cruises with Celebrity Royal Caribbean, Holland America & Princess and have always enjoyed the MDR and the people we meet. My husband orders escargot every night

Ontario Cruiser

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We stick to MDR and buffet, because the additional fees for the specialty restaurants seem so high to us. But plenty of people do pay the additional fee, and the obvious reason why is because the food and general experience is better. You can tell that from the photos people upload and the reviews/comments that people post.

 

I think that the food in both the MDR and buffet is fine - sometimes really nice, sometimes mediocre. The MDR is noisy and crowded, the tables for two are too close to the next door tables, if you are doing Select Dining you have to queue to get a table and sometimes get sent away with a buzzer. The buffet is self-service and doesn’t have a restaurant ambiance. If these things are a big deal for you, then maybe you should treat yourself to the specialty experience, but if you can accept the inevitable compromises of mass dining, then you can save your money. 

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