Dining Experiences Changing on Cruises (and for the better)...
Cruises. People either love them or they don't. It's one of those things where very few people fall somewhere in between. So how do I feel when it comes to cruises? I love them. My first cruise experience was a great one; I was hooked.... beautiful ship, excellent shows and great food. Since then, I've been on a few more and haven't changed my mind. It's such a great way to see different destinations and have an opportunity to experience family time & adult time all within the same trip. Now, on to the reason for this blog... THE FOOD!
If you ask me what I like about cruising, I can list a number of things. If you ask me what I DON'T like about cruising I would say that I'm not into the huge main dining rooms and daily all you can eat buffets.
Don't get me wrong, I love a great meal. However, I stick with the motto of quality over quantity and those who know me know I'll skip the meal (or eat something small) just so I can indulge in the desserts.
What I've noticed with all the new ships that have come out in the past few years (and even with older ones that have been recently refurbished) is that the industry is changing the dining experience on-board completely. You will find 1 or 2 main dining rooms (depending on the size of the ship) and one buffet by the pool deck with many more smaller, intimate specialty dining restaurants spread throughout. Many have adopted the "dine at your own time" concept as well. For the specialty restaurants, you will have a chance to make dining reservations ahead of time if you choose (just like you would with your excursions).
Specialty restaurants have a surcharge to dine there, but depending on the cruise line, the charge is minimal and absolutely worth it. Some are adult-only restaurants, while others include the entire family with a wide range of options on the menu. There are also promotions that offer dining at these restaurants for free...a great opportunity for a few on-board perks!
If you are celebrating a special event, there are opportunities to dine at a "chef's table" where you have your own private dining area for your party. A special tasting menu can be arranged to make the meal even that much more memorable. Maybe you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary with your significant other and want to have a meal without the kids....this would be a great way to do it.
So the next time you decide to book a cruise, make sure to ask me about the specialty dining options. It's a great way to get the intimate feel of a restaurant even while on a ship with thousands.