Dining in the Ship’s Specialty Restaurants

We are foodies.  Among our circle of friends, we are always among the first to visit newly opened localRoger1 - Copy restaurants, so our friends call us when they need a restaurant recommendation for a special celebration or to charm a visitor from another area.  And, we love to try new foods and dining experiences, so we’re naturally drawn to the shipboard specialty restaurants and the special meals offered on various lines.  For those of you like us, you already know you’ll love these shipboard restaurants and meals, even though there’s often an additional surcharge to enjoy them. 

I’ve heard complaints among cruise guests that you should never have to pay for meals on a ship, so let me clarify.  You don’t HAVE to pay for dining on any ship as each cruise line offers includes dining in the main dining rooms, buffets, and snack venues.  The cost for specialty restaurants, usually presented as a cover charge or surcharge, runs from about $10 to $25 per person.  We consider that money well-spent for a slower paced meal, upgraded menus, fewer guests dining at the same time, and many interesting venues.  Most of the luxury lines have no cover charges for any of their onboard restaurants, so you can enjoy them all without paying anything extra. 

NCLSpiritIf you are celebrating a special event while on board or just want an excellent dining experience once or twice while cruising, then consider alternative dining for just what it is “alternative and optional”.  Or you can blissfully dine 3 to 6 times per day at the free restaurants.  But if you have not sampled an alternative restaurant, be careful, you might get hooked!  It must be a popular feature because the cruise lines that used to offer only “traditional” first and second seating dining are adding flexible dining options as well as more extensive alternative restaurants to new and existing ships. 

Stay tuned in the next few days as I share some our most memorable shipboard and port dining experiences.  And, I’d love to hear about yours, so leave your comments below.

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