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Does everyone think it is worth it to upgrade to the specialty resteraunts?  Is the main dining room that bad?  We love the food in Blu on Celebrity but are confused over this system.

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On our preferred cruise line the MDR meals are very good to excellent. The 2 specialty restaurants are complimentary, so they are definitely worth it for a change in menu.

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10 minutes ago, 4inayear said:

Does everyone think it is worth it to upgrade to the specialty resteraunts?  Is the main dining room that bad?  We love the food in Blu on Celebrity but are confused over this system.

Which ships.

 

i haven’t done specialty dining in years, there are so many other options. Back when it was MDR or specialty I did frequently. Now the buffet is open, there are burger stands pizza bars etc as well.

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Might help to know what line you are referring to .  We generally do a specialty restaurant or two depending on the length of the cruise.  It is just another way to add variety.  

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Why do people bother going to high end restaurants on land? They can always go to McDonalds. You have to understand we were around on one of the first steak houses 17 years ago.The surcharge was a whole $5. The average is around $30 now or $100 for Chef's table.

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4 minutes ago, jlp20 said:

Why do people bother going to high end restaurants on land? They can always go to McDonalds. You have to understand we were around on one of the first steak houses 17 years ago.The surcharge was a whole $5. The average is around $30 now or $100 for Chef's table.

Pretty sure the first steakhouse we did was Stirlings in Pacific Princess about 18 years back and $20, what I dislike about the steakhouse on Princess now is the atmosphere, tucked away in the buffet, not freestanding with a quiet atmosphere.

 

no way I’d pay for a steakhouse on land that was just in the corner of a buffet.

 

And to be honest there are very few steakhouses on land that I’d call high end dinning.

 

now the line that introduces a good seafood specialty restaurant (with quality seafood) will lure me back to specialty restaurants at sea.

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2 hours ago, 4inayear said:

Does everyone think it is worth it to upgrade to the specialty resteraunts?  Is the main dining room that bad?  We love the food in Blu on Celebrity but are confused over this system.

Which cruise line???

"Specialty" means different things on different cruise lines.

For example, on Oceania (Finest Cuisine at Sea™), the exceptionally high quality of food is consistent across the entire ship (yes, even the filet mignon/lobster sandwiches in the pool venue, Waves, are top notch).

What sets Oceania's never-an-extra-charge "specialty" restaurants apart from the GDR is their focus on specific cuisines prepared in dedicated kitchens and served in intimate settings. 

Fortunately, the same holds true for Oceania's Terrace Café, which is their casual restaurant with "a la minute" cooking and a varied selection of staff served dishes in a more casual setting including an al fresco seating option.

 

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far too vague.   on Royal we do tend to prefer specialty only because the MDR menu has not been updated in a while and its  kinda stale to us over all( with one or two  entrees we will  forgo specialty in order to get)  but on Celebrity,  the MDR is perfectly fine for us and we don't go out of our way to do specialty.    on Disney I will NOT eat in MDR, period.   with the exception of the cold fruit soups, I went hungry every night.    but I could eat in Palo and Remy  nightly and cheerfully pay the upcharges.  

 

 

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We have never had a bad meal in any MDR on any cruise line.  If we choose to go to a specialty restaurant for a fee, it is for the experience....and we usually only go once per cruise. 

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If the OP is referring to Celebrity by indicating Blu, that is the restaurant that is designated for Aqua Class stateroom guests and is a separate venue from the MDR, but is included in the base stateroom rate. (Much like Luminae is the restaurant designated for Suite guests).  The other specialty restaurants offered are available at a separate fee for anyone - including Aqua and Suite guests - to book and are there to offer an option to Blu, Luminae, and the MDR, similar to other cruise lines offering Specialty Restaurant options.

 

As to their value, that is an individual decision, but in most cases the food quality and service levels are higher than with the MDR in our experience.

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On Royal, we normally do a 3 night specialty dining package.  Do MDR or buffet the other nights.

 

 

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On most lines: Princess, Celebrity, HAL, Cunard, Royal Caribbean, specifically, you will find that the specialty restaurants offer noticeably better food and service than the MDR’s - but there is nothing really wrong with those MDR’s:  the food is acceptable and the service reasonably good - they just are not “great dining” —- but then the specialty restaurants are not really “great” either:  just a notch higher.

 

On NCL, the specialty restaurants are not “great” either -  but they are sufficiently better than the mediocre food poorly served you will get in the MDR’s to justify the upcharge.

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As with nearly every other cruising decision, it comes down to personal preference. Give two different people the same meal. One will say it was enjoyable. One will say it's inedible. 

 

Personally, we enjoy the MDR, and are not snobs. I fully understand better food exists. No one cares if I think I deserve that at every meal. We will be doing one specialty restaurant on our upcoming cruise as a little treat, and something different.

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We rarely eat in mdr , perfer specialty or suite restaurant, and even if we have access to suite restaurant we eat many meals in specialty. 

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Personally, I prefer the MDR. I might book a specialty restaurant for a special occasion, but that's it. The MDR is already included, why pay more if you don't have to?

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You should probably wait until you see if you enjoy the MDR food...you don't need a 'package" to eat at any specialty restaurant.

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Once you have purchased a “package” (meaning in this case a cruise with meals included),  add-ons are only necessary if the basic package is unsatisfactory - which suggests that you bought the wrong package.

 

I usually fly coach - I do not enjoy  it, but it gets me to where I want to go.  I am not inclined to pay for an “upgrade” to an emergency exit row or to a “more room in coach” seat.  Because I fly a lot, those small add-ons over the course of a year would amount to what one first or business class seat would cost,  so I value one significant improvement more than a dozen or so one or two inch increments in legroom.

 

Dining is the same - if I am going to pay extra for a meal, it will be occasionally at a first class restaurant rather than several times for small upgrades on a ship.

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43 minutes ago, cb at sea said:

You should probably wait until you see if you enjoy the MDR food...you don't need a 'package" to eat at any specialty restaurant.

Totally agree but you can save 20 or more dollars a meal by prebuying a specialty package. 

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MDR is perfectly tasty most of the time with some misses on most of the lines I have been on.

 

Best advice is to spend more money on food ashore as thats where the best food is.

 

Speciality restaurants on ships are often not great to say you have got food provided anyway. I don't want to go to a dated steak house concept or eat low quality French/Italian stuff that's often not authentic.Sure, there are some great ones but when you pay a certain fee there is a risk I think. I do realise some pay for these restaurants for the ambience but I still don't think that alone can be worth the fee. 

Edited by Velvetwater

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On our oasis cruise about 6 weeks ago chops was either 50 or 55 a night but 3 night package sold on ship was 90 or less, so we had two dinners in chops and one in Giovanni’s. Hibachi was not included in package 

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Just like with everything else, it depends on your preferences. Since we are usually cruising with kids, we prefer to spend our budget on something else and eat the food in the MDR. The food in the MDR isn't really that bad, and yes, the food in the specialty dining rooms is usually a bit better, but lets be honest - none of the food on a ship is 5 star quality.  We're floating in the middle of the ocean on a gigantic life raft that is somehow miraculously not sinking :classic_biggrin:

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4 hours ago, Velvetwater said:

MDR is perfectly tasty most of the time with some misses on most of the lines I have been on.

 

Best advice is to spend more money on food ashore as thats where the best food is.

 

Speciality restaurants on ships are often not great to say you have got food provided anyway. I don't want to go to a dated steak house concept or eat low quality French/Italian stuff that's often not authentic.Sure, there are some great ones but when you pay a certain fee there is a risk I think. I do realise some pay for these restaurants for the ambience but I still don't think that alone can be worth the fee. 

IMO, you really need to "up your game." All the venues on Oceania ships are worthy of 2-3 San Francisco Chronicle stars.

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2 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

IMO, you really need to "up your game." All the venues on Oceania ships are worthy of 2-3 San Francisco Chronicle stars.

 

 It amuses me that people still pay for speciality restaurants on luxury lines when they have shelled out £2k-3k for 7 days.Some posters need to realise that not everyone can afford cruise a,b or c or prefer to spend their money on other pursuits.

 

Horses for courses and all that but I don't cruise for the food on the ship (the choice is nice enough however) but experiencing food on land..well...thats a completely different story. My husband will tell you  about the trek we had to find Casu Marzu in Sardinia. 🙂

Edited by Velvetwater

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Guess a lot depends upon the cruise line and whether you're really into being a 'foodie" or not. Last cruise (9/23 - 10/7/2018) on Celebrity Summit, the MDR food was so good (subjective) that I only ate in a speciality dining room once, just to use up OBC.

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