On most cruises, several dining options are included in your fare, but many ships also have specialty dining venues you can enjoy – for an extra charge. Is the extra cost worth it? And if so, how can you make the most of a specialty dining experience?
Whether or not onboard specialty dining is worth the cost really depends
on you. If you love good food with quality ingredients, sophisticated cooking techniques, and beautiful presentation, you’ll probably enjoy the experience. But if you
like to be served right away and to eat quickly, specialty dining may not be the
right choice for you – it’s usually a leisurely meal.
While there’s an extra charge for most specialty dining, it’s often
significantly less than you would pay for a comparable meal in a fine-dining
restaurant at home. To make it even more affordable, some specialty restaurants
offer discounts if you make a reservation for the very first night of the
cruise; if you come in for lunch rather than dinner; or if you purchase a specialty
dining package (which may include more than one onboard specialty restaurant).
Also, if you have any onboard credits, you may be able to use them to cover
some or all of the cost of a wonderful meal in a specialty restaurant.
To make the most of a specialty dining experience, start by dressing for
the occasion. These restaurants usually don’t require anything as formal as tuxedos
and long gowns, but they may ask for no shorts, tank tops or flip-flops.
If you’re cruising with children who enjoy dining out, many specialty
restaurants welcome children and even have special pricing for them. But if your
kids would rather do their own thing, take them to the buffet or pizza stand for
an early dinner, then check them into an onboard kids’ club; they’ll have fun
while you savor your dinner.
One more tip: if you want more information about any item on a specialty
restaurant’s menu, just ask. In the small and intimate environment of a
specialty restaurant, the staff will be happy to explain ingredients and
preparation, guiding you toward dishes you’ll love.
To enjoy specialty dining on your next cruise, talk with Anita, your
professional travel advisor. You may be able to purchase a specialty dining
package and make reservations in advance; if not, your advisor may have advice
for securing reservations as soon as you get on board.
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