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christa

Specialty dining with two 9 year olds

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Hi there,

 

New to NCL (well, sailed on the Pride of ALOHA, in 2005 or 2006) and just booked the Escape with the specialty dining package included for first 2 passengers. I understand that children are complimentary IF ordering off of the children's menu. Well, I was able to finally find one of those menus (which is the same for all restaurants) and it sounded terrible (hot dog, nuggets, pizza, etc). Our sons enjoy the dining experience because they like trying new things. I grimace thinking about their faces as I am having my filet mignon and they are having a hot dog. So, I am probably looking at purchasing them a package as well. My question is, do you experienced NCL cruisers think we will do better purchasing in advance or waiting and purchasing the meal they choose a la carte? I've read differing accounts as to being charged for 2 appetizers and desserts. I am thinking we will do better just purchasing their meals separately as we go and asking for two apps and desserts for myself and husband to share with our sons. Is that cheating? We have reservations at Bayomo, Bistro and Cagneys.

 

2nd question: They like milk at dinner. Is milk available for children?

 

3rd question: I was only able to reserve one show on my sailing. Any advice for getting reservations on-board? Should I, like, rush to guest services right after boarding?

 

4th question: My first time with a drink package in about 15+ cruises, not a big drinker and I do not like the sweet frozen drinks (after about the first one- kills my appetite and I feel like I'm drinking dessert). What is your favorite not-too-sweet NCL drink?

 

Thank you in advance!

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I think you wait and see how it goes with your kids.    When my kids were that age, they loved the Kids Club.   Loved it so much, they made friends and couldn't wait until the evening rolled around to go back.    Doing dinner in the Specialty Dining pretty much means you're cutting them out of the evening in the kids club.       I'd just see how the first two days go with them because 9 year olds are the perfect age to enjoy everything about Kids Club.

 

I took my kids to the buffet for dinner, then took them to kids club and then husband and I had a nice dinner alone at Specialty Dining.    My kids also didn't mind getting a plate of food from the buffet, bringing it back to our cabin and sitting on our balcony and eating dinner before they left for kids club.    

 

As far as the shows, when you get onboard,  there will be kiosks/touch screens all over that you can book your shows or go to Headliners for help with shows.     

 

I can tell you the best shows aren't the main production performances anymore.   Not since this new Austrailian group took over for the Jean Ann Ryan Company.   Its definitely a big step down.   The best shows are the ones you don't book before the cruise, these are the hypnotists, the magicians, comedy and piano bar singers.    I was just off the Gem and there was a hilarious piano bar singer that packed the room.   I'd skip any show to laugh along to Justin Golan!    Its an age 18 and over show.   

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Good advice, they have liked the kid clubs in the past and it would be nice to dine without them getting "antsy" for having to sit still so long. Thank you!! Thanks also for the info on the shows. I love piano bars and comedians!

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I agree with Vyhenak.  We take our granddaughter every year and she loves splash academy.  So we take her to the buffet and then to kids club at 7 and we enjoy our evening.  Always good idea to get there (kids club) as it opens in case it fills up.  

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16 hours ago, Vyhanek said:

I think you wait and see how it goes with your kids.    When my kids were that age, they loved the Kids Club.   Loved it so much, they made friends and couldn't wait until the evening rolled around to go back.    Doing dinner in the Specialty Dining pretty much means you're cutting them out of the evening in the kids club.       I'd just see how the first two days go with them because 9 year olds are the perfect age to enjoy everything about Kids Club.

 

I took my kids to the buffet for dinner, then took them to kids club and then husband and I had a nice dinner alone at Specialty Dining.    My kids also didn't mind getting a plate of food from the buffet, bringing it back to our cabin and sitting on our balcony and eating dinner before they left for kids club.    

 

As far as the shows, when you get onboard,  there will be kiosks/touch screens all over that you can book your shows or go to Headliners for help with shows.     

 

I can tell you the best shows aren't the main production performances anymore.   Not since this new Austrailian group took over for the Jean Ann Ryan Company.   Its definitely a big step down.   The best shows are the ones you don't book before the cruise, these are the hypnotists, the magicians, comedy and piano bar singers.    I was just off the Gem and there was a hilarious piano bar singer that packed the room.   I'd skip any show to laugh along to Justin Golan!    Its an age 18 and over show.   

I agree about the kids club. Our great granddaughter loves the kids club and it gives her parents a break for awhile. Now that there are 3 girls in the family, ranging from 13 down. I would guess they will take all 3 to one specialty dining room and will probably order, using the kids menu for the 2 younger ones allowing each to have one of the adult sides.

 

 I also agree with you on the shows.

 

OP if you really want to waster money on the kids, go ahead and let them order off the menu a la carte. I would never order a dining package for each of them. No matter how much they like to try new foods, which I think is great; 9 year olds can only eat so much. 

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1 hour ago, negn said:

I agree with Vyhenak.  We take our granddaughter every year and she loves splash academy.  So we take her to the buffet and then to kids club at 7 and we enjoy our evening.  Always good idea to get there (kids club) as it opens in case it fills up.  

Thank you, especially the tip about the kids club filling up. : ) Happy cruising.

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1 hour ago, newmexicoNita said:

I agree about the kids club. Our great granddaughter loves the kids club and it gives her parents a break for awhile. Now that there are 3 girls in the family, ranging from 13 down. I would guess they will take all 3 to one specialty dining room and will probably order, using the kids menu for the 2 younger ones allowing each to have one of the adult sides.

 

 I also agree with you on the shows.

 

OP if you really want to waster money on the kids, go ahead and let them order off the menu a la carte. I would never order a dining package for each of them. No matter how much they like to try new foods, which I think is great; 9 year olds can only eat so much. 

My 9 year old boys must be growing through a growing spurt, they eat more than me! I love to "waste" my money on food/new exeriences for my boys, but thanks for your 2 cents worth. Happy cruising!

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Just now, christa said:

My 9 year old boys must be growing through a growing spurt, they eat more than me! I love to "waste" my money on food/new exeriences for my boys, but thanks for your 2 cents worth. Happy cruising!

 

When I was a kid I had no trouble demolishing a pizza by myself.  Now if I drive past the pizzeria I gain two pounds just smelling it.  🙂

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You asked about show reservations also.  The shows on the 'Away class ships (such as the Escape which is 'Away Plus) are completely different than the ones on the Jewel-class ship (the Gem) referred to above.  You should be able to make most of those reservations via the ncl.com website but the site has been very twitchy so you may have to make several attempts before you succeed.  HINT: get the NCL app for all your smart phones before your cruise & you can make dinner & show reservations via the app in the cruise ship terminal while you're waiting to board.  The only exception I know of are the comedy shows in Headliners; those have to be made on the ship either at the ticket office on Deck 6 or via the touch screens around the ship or in your cabin.  The comedy shows fill up FAST so make those reservations as soon as you board.

 

I agree with 'Nita; let em' order a la carte & if they don't finish the meal it's hot dogs & pizza the next time!  lol

 

Hope you have a great cruise!

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My daughter was 10 the last time we went   She loves Filets/steak.   I did not get her the package and just purchased filets for her.  At cagneys they give you so much for the sides.   I did not eat at bistro. 

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Christa - so happy to see you here and to have you travelling with us :)

 

We got into a pattern of going to the dining room with our children (now 6 and 9) at 530 or 6, order an app, while they order their dinner (son loves steak but happy with the dining room one).  When done, we would drop them at "Camp" (Kids club) and have reservations for 730 or 8 at a specialty restaurant.  One app and a glass of wine didn't fill us up - gave us the chance to "have dinner" with the kids, they loved not missing camp and not having to sit through a long dinner (they traditionally only order main and dessert), saved us money on their "fine" dining and gave us a little time to ourselves.  

 

The buffet is good too but our kids enjoyed the dining room experience and is much less chaotic.

Edited by Pandot

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5 hours ago, tomk3212 said:

You asked about show reservations also.  The shows on the 'Away class ships (such as the Escape which is 'Away Plus) are completely different than the ones on the Jewel-class ship (the Gem) referred to above.  You should be able to make most of those reservations via the ncl.com website but the site has been very twitchy so you may have to make several attempts before you succeed.  HINT: get the NCL app for all your smart phones before your cruise & you can make dinner & show reservations via the app in the cruise ship terminal while you're waiting to board.  The only exception I know of are the comedy shows in Headliners; those have to be made on the ship either at the ticket office on Deck 6 or via the touch screens around the ship or in your cabin.  The comedy shows fill up FAST so make those reservations as soon as you board.

 

I agree with 'Nita; let em' order a la carte & if they don't finish the meal it's hot dogs & pizza the next time!  lol

 

Hope you have a great cruise!

 

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All of the tips are very appreciated!! We will be taking your advice and have a drink and maybe an appetizer earlier in the evening in the MDR or buffet while boys eat, then take to camp, then enjoy the specialty dining. We will take them to one of our specialty restaurants, probably Cagney's since they love steak. Thank you again!! I'm so excited and so happy I booked this cruise. :classic_biggrin:

Edited by christa
better reply

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3 hours ago, 14cruise said:

My daughter was 10 the last time we went   She loves Filets/steak.   I did not get her the package and just purchased filets for her.  At cagneys they give you so much for the sides.   I did not eat at bistro. 

I was thinking that we would have enough to share other than the main course, so this helps confirm that, thank you! My boys love steak too!

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1 hour ago, Pandot said:

Christa - so happy to see you here and to have you travelling with us :)

 

We got into a pattern of going to the dining room with our children (now 6 and 9) at 530 or 6, order an app, while they order their dinner (son loves steak but happy with the dining room one).  When done, we would drop them at "Camp" (Kids club) and have reservations for 730 or 8 at a specialty restaurant.  One app and a glass of wine didn't fill us up - gave us the chance to "have dinner" with the kids, they loved not missing camp and not having to sit through a long dinner (they traditionally only order main and dessert), saved us money on their "fine" dining and gave us a little time to ourselves.  

 

The buffet is good too but our kids enjoyed the dining room experience and is much less chaotic.

Excellent advice! Yes, I think this is what we will do and maybe take them to one specialty and pay a la carte.

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5 hours ago, tomk3212 said:

You asked about show reservations also.  The shows on the 'Away class ships (such as the Escape which is 'Away Plus) are completely different than the ones on the Jewel-class ship (the Gem) referred to above.  You should be able to make most of those reservations via the ncl.com website but the site has been very twitchy so you may have to make several attempts before you succeed.  HINT: get the NCL app for all your smart phones before your cruise & you can make dinner & show reservations via the app in the cruise ship terminal while you're waiting to board.  The only exception I know of are the comedy shows in Headliners; those have to be made on the ship either at the ticket office on Deck 6 or via the touch screens around the ship or in your cabin.  The comedy shows fill up FAST so make those reservations as soon as you board.

 

I agree with 'Nita; let em' order a la carte & if they don't finish the meal it's hot dogs & pizza the next time!  lol

 

Hope you have a great cruise!

I had no idea about the app and booking and utilizing it waiting to board, thank you so much. I will also go to a kiosk first think for comedy shows. I really appreciate this tip! :classic_cool:

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@christa OR you can go to the Box Office on Deck 6 near the theater if you get on early enough to avoid the crowds.

 

Some people have posted here that they were able to use the app to book the comedy shows once they were on board.  I was not able to do so on my last 2 cruises on Get- & Breakaway.  Give it a shot with the app & let us know if it works!

 

Hope you have a great cruise!

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15 hours ago, christa said:

I had no idea about the app and booking and utilizing it waiting to board, thank you so much. I will also go to a kiosk first think for comedy shows. I really appreciate this tip! :classic_cool:

smart choice and I am glad you have taught them to enjoy quality food and not just crappy kids stuff. 😛

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A good alternative to the frozen drinks is an Aperol Spritz. Not heavy and refreshing.  If you enjoy that, maybe try a Negroni before dinner. It’s more bitter but great as a before dinner drink.  Another nice one is a French 75. 

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On the Getaway at least, we pre-booked no shows and had no trouble at all booking on board, either at the box office, the touch screen kiosks or by phone.  We do usually cruise in slightly less busy times like early December.

 

Maybe if you have to have a precise time slot, this would be more difficult.  We also just walked in to a show when they opened to walk-ins--about 10 minutes pre-show.  We also booked our specialty dinners quite last minute, even by just walking up.  We prefer to eat late, which probably helps.

 

Not being comedy club fans, I can't comment on this.

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On ‎7‎/‎26‎/‎2019 at 9:30 AM, rxlowry said:

A good alternative to the frozen drinks is an Aperol Spritz. Not heavy and refreshing.  If you enjoy that, maybe try a Negroni before dinner. It’s more bitter but great as a before dinner drink.  Another nice one is a French 75. 

I looked those up and all sound so good! And, exactly what I'm looking for.:classic_love: I may have to experiment and mix up a French 75 at home tonight!

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