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courtneyjanebeasley

Should I purchase a specialty dining meal for me and my mom?

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I'm taking my mom on the upcoming Sept 1st Eclipse sailing to Alaska for her 50th birthday. After paying for the cruise itself I don't have much extra money leftover so I'm wondering the importance of having a meal at one of the specialty dining restaurants. While my mom and I both love food, I wouldn't say we have the most refined pallette (we consider Olive Garden "fine dining") so will we be just as happy eating solely in the MDR (and the buffet for some breakfasts and lunches) or are we missing out by not exploring some of the other dining options? I also feel like if we don't dine end up dining at one of the specialty restaurants we could use that money to have a meal in one of the Alaskan ports so I'm just trying to figure out which would be more special/enjoyable for my mom.

 

If we did end up having a specialty dining meal it would probably be at the Tuscan Grille (my mom is a vegetarian so I don't think Qsine would work, we don't eat Sushi, and Murano's menu looks a bit too fancy for us 😂)

 

I would really appreciate any opinions or insight! Thanks so much!

Edited by courtneyjanebeasley

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We love the speciality restaurants and normally recommend but it doesn’t sound like food is a big deal for you. As long as your Mum’s birthday isn’t first night why not try the MDR, have a look at the speciality restaurants and then decide? The speciality restaurants often offer discounts too so don’t be afraid to ask for a deal if you decide to try. Tuscan is a great venue to dine in as you are leaving a port, the wake view is fantastic.

 

Most of the special restaurants we saw in Alaska focused on fish...You may prefer to look at spending money on a special excursion....

 

If you let your waiter know about your mum’s birthday they will provide a small cake at dessert time and sing to her!

 

Re being a vegetarian...All of the speciality restaurants will customise meals for all dietary needs. If you let them know in advance your options are wider.

 

We love Eclipse, hope you have a fantastic cruise!

 

Remember, you are allowed to take on board two bottles of wine, this can be champagne. Your room attendant will put it on ice for you in your room for no charge. If you wish to enjoy at dinner there is a corkage fee ($20?). Fizz always adds to an occasion even if you have a drinks package!

Edited by chemmo

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We tend to do a specialty restaurant each week or ten days, but then again have done a few cruises where we ate every meal in the Buffett or MDR. Usually it’s on a night where the menu has nothing that appeals to us. wife is a Vegan/Vegetarian (prefers vegan but misses some foods so will let loose from time to time, hers is health related so pays a price is she isn’t fairly strict) and has never had trouble getting a feed on any ship we hav3 been on.

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Specialty restaurant dining can be a nice plus to a cruise but are not essential.  We've been on cruises where we've eaten in a specialty restaurant every other night and we've been on others when we made the decision beforehand that we weren't taking anything other than shorts and t-shirts where we ate every meal in the buffet.  If the food isn't that important to you, I say save the money and spend it on something that would bring the two of you more enjoyment.  That may be an excursion, a lunch in one of the ports or even a momento souvenir.  And it's not like you have to decide now whether to do it.  You may get on the ship and they offer a great deal to try one of the restaurants.  Just go with the flow and see where it leads you.

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If you're like us I don't think you'll be missing anything if you skip the specialty restaurants. When we cruise the main dining room rarely disappoints and we're not very picky or have refined palates. Also you've already paid for the mdr meal (let's assume the mdr meal is worth $15) so by going to a specialty restaurant that's $50 your real cost is $65, for that money I'll enjoy a restaurant near me that I've been wanting to try.

 

Also, a few years ago we met a couple that had access to Blu but preferred eating their nice dinners in the MDR. We were new to Celebrity at the time, and he offered us some dinner advice, he said, "forget the main dining room for a night and try the stir-fry station at the buffet, it's the best". We tried it and he was right, delicious and something we don't have access to at home, we've skipped MDR a few times now to check out what the buffet has to offer.

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, rjhelmes said:

 

......and he offered us some dinner advice, he said, "forget the main dining room for a night and try the stir-fry station at the buffet, it's the best". We tried it and he was right, delicious and something we don't have access to at home, we've skipped MDR a few times now to check out what the buffet has to offer.

 

 

 

 

Agree the buffet can be very enjoyable in the evening. Much quieter than during the day, easier to browse the options...If you are tired after a busy port day it can be a good choice. Our favourite is the Indian selection.

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When you board you can seek out a

special dining price at Tuscan.  Table with aft wake view is usually very nice!

Let Tusxan ( or mdr) know ahead abt the birthday..They will present a nice choc  cake..mini with dessert!

 

Enjoy this special cruise!

Edited by hcat

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I think your mom will enjoy the cruise very much as it is, especially if it would be the first.  We have done all of the specialty restaurants at least once, but feel on the whole the extra money is not worth it and have been in better restaurants on land.  Also we find that after the big and many meals on the ship, we can t really get enthusiastic about having another sit down meal ashore in one of the ports.

If you want to spend additional money, buy her something she will really like.

Edited by Michidoeme

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What a wonderful gift for your mom!  You two will make so many wonderful memories.

 

A couple of other suggestions that I don't think were given above:

1) You can bring some birthday decorations for your cabin door and/or inside the cabin. The door and most walls are magnetic so you can bring some birthday magnets, if you wish.

 

2) On many cruises Tuscan is open for 1 lunch and is less expensive (usually $25, or at least was last time I checked). That may be a less expensive way to celebrate and you may have a better chance to get a window table. They do have a reduced menu for lunch, though they do have some nice vegetarian pastas, great salads, flatbreads and other vegetarian items. They have a chocolate fondue for dessert that is yummy (or at least had that the last time I was there). 🙂

 

Enjoy your adventure with your mom!

 

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You can have an amazing cruise without going to a speciality restaurant.  We have gone to all of them and we enjoy Tuscan for the filet but don’t go every cruise.  The pasta dishes, IMHO, are below average.  

 

I would use the money for an excursion, meal on shore or a souvenir.  

Have a wonderful trip.

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It isn't necessary, but something special and nice.  If you can get a great rate book.  You can also book on board.  The first night usually a discount and sometimes a nice lunch at a reasonable cost.  However you will enjoy all of the included food.

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If Olive Garden is your idea of fine dining, then the MDR will be a considerable step up.  Coming from a midwest small town I would be hard pressed to find a meal costing as much as many of the specialty restaurants.  Never been in one in 15 cruises and probably never will.  Don't see the need.  Personally, if I was going to pay for a meal, I'd have one in port as an alternative to the ship.

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23 hours ago, courtneyjanebeasley said:

I'm taking my mom on the upcoming Sept 1st Eclipse sailing to Alaska for her 50th birthday. After paying for the cruise itself I don't have much extra money leftover so I'm wondering the importance of having a meal at one of the specialty dining restaurants. While my mom and I both love food, I wouldn't say we have the most refined pallette (we consider Olive Garden "fine dining") so will we be just as happy eating solely in the MDR (and the buffet for some breakfasts and lunches) or are we missing out by not exploring some of the other dining options? I also feel like if we don't dine end up dining at one of the specialty restaurants we could use that money to have a meal in one of the Alaskan ports so I'm just trying to figure out which would be more special/enjoyable for my mom.

 

If we did end up having a specialty dining meal it would probably be at the Tuscan Grille (my mom is a vegetarian so I don't think Qsine would work, we don't eat Sushi, and Murano's menu looks a bit too fancy for us 😂)

 

I would really appreciate any opinions or insight! Thanks so much!

Hello CourtneyJaneBeasley!  we are also on that Eclipse sailing.    Here's my 2cents.  You and your Mom sound a lot like Me, and mine, except I'm the one who prefers the veggies.  We don't often do the specialty restraunts, as we feel the the MDR is a sufficiently special for us.  We also enjoy the Buffet occasionally if the menu in the MDR doesn't call to us.  Either way, We love the change from the everyday.  The choices are usually a step up from anything we get in the everyday, and certainly served much nicer than anything I could do.  Personally the veggie choices in the specialty locations do nothing for me.  I'd use the extra $$ for something else.  There are some really great restaurants in port,  I'm really looking forward to being able to hit the Cookhouse in Icy Strait Point, and Twisted Fish in Juneau.  had great meals at those places the last time we went to AK.  

If you do decide to pick one on the ship, I agree with everyone else and would go for the wakeview.  Maybe the Juneau day, as we leave port just about sunset, and the light and views should be amazing.    

 

Whatever you decide, I'm sure it will be great.  I know that I'd be happy with a grilled cheese sandwich if I was getting to spend quality time with either one of my girls.  The memories you will make will be more than any meal you eat.  

 

Maybe we'll run into each other on board.....enjoy the adventure. 

 

De  aka Tutu

Edited by tutuwahineLV
additional thoughts

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I believe you can do without a specialty restaurant and still have a great time - we did for years.  But then we tried one and now book at least one every cruise!  There are almost always first night specials of 30% off (sometimes offered online ahead of time), and during the cruise you can always ask the maître d's if they have any specials.  We almost always get discounts of as little as 20%, up to 50% (more rare, and generally on longer sailings).  You are more likely to get those discounts if you are willing to eat very early or very late.

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