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Have you dined in a speciality [charged for] restaurant at sea?

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    Have you dined in a speciality [charged for] restaurant at sea?

    There are a couple of threads which have highlighted the speciality [charged for]restaurant on board.

    As one who has never seen the point, I'm interested to know why you have dined in them. Is it because the food in the MDR hasn't been up to scratch, a special occasion, a spot of variety, dress code, change of table companions...

    We have seen the emergence of these over the last decade and I have always thought them a bit of a money spinner for the cruise line. I'm beginning to think I'm in the minority here and I'm just wondering what I'm missing out on.

    #2
    Hi Mrs M!

    We tried the White room on Ventura ... Only because it was our Ruby anniversary. It was different, but not overly impressed.
    Never had a problem with MDR on any of our cruises.
    Did try Ramblas also, but that was only £5 extra at lunch. Nice for a change.
    Loved the Glass house on Azura... heard so much about it. Plus there was nothing in the MDR we fancied that night.
    But basically we enjoy our table and the food served in the MDR. Easily pleased we are.
    sigpic*Carol M*

    Comment


      #3
      Hello Mrs M, hope you are well.

      We love the speciality restaurants. The main thing for us is the guarantee of a table for two, something that's not so easy to come by in MDRs. Another thing is the variety it introduces to the cruise and the opportunity to dine in a restaurant with the name of a 'top chef' over the door. I would have difficulty doing that on dry land.

      In my experience, the food and the service is also better in these establishments although I know that some would disagree. I think I said elsewhere that about 70% of our dinners at sea have been in speciality restaurants, some of which, several years ago, did not attract a cover charge, only supplements on certain dishes.

      I would have to say that the cost is sometimes over the top, but as dinner is the highlight of our evenings, I have to say that it is a price worth paying in my book. The best value speciality restaurant I've experienced is, without a doubt, James Martin's Bistro on OV1. We dined there every night of our cruise for the princely sum of about £9.50 per cover.

      I'm looking forward to hopefully having a table for two on 'select dining' in the MDR on Eclipse later this year, but will definitely be trying Murano, Tuscan Grill and Qsine. I can hardly wait.

      I would go as far as to say that I would hesitate now to sail on a ship without a speciality restaurant, or at least some form of alternative dining where I could enjoy a table for two.

      Bob

      Comment


        #4
        We've been perfectly happy with the MDRs but we like the variety of trying new places. We didn't fancy the menu at Oriana Rhodes but the grill place on Oriana was good. All speciality restaurants on Azura are excellent. Seventeen is our favourite and when we go to the Fjords on Azura later this year we will definitely go there again. Can't wait in fact.

        Comment


          #5
          Tried one or two and feel we must give Qsine a go in July. It depends on the length of a cruise for us, sometimes we fancy a change, my OH joked at the last one "we always go out on a Saturday night." On only our 2nd HAL cruise we were invited to use the speciality restaurant for free, so we did...Carol

          Comment


            #6
            We don't bother on every cruise, but if there is a special occasion within the family, birthday, anniversary etc. we normally 'do' a specialty restaurant just to make the evening, well?..........special.

            Tuscan on Celebrity was very good, Chops on RCI is pretty good, but the very best I have had surprisingly was on Carnival Liberty in Harry's Bar.

            The worst on NCL Spirit. It just about reached standard cruise fare on other mainstream lines.

            You can probably guess what I thought of the food in the MDR!!!
            Wilba

            Comment


              #7
              We havw tried quite a few speciality restaurants on various ships for different reasons. Holland America Zuiderdam springs to mind first. The food and service in MRD was so awful yet the speciality restaurant was excellent on both counts. Ocean village was all buffet and whilst we had no complaints with the quality of the food we do prefer waiter service and the cost was so reasonable we had several meals in the James Martin. Excellent value, I even bought his cookery book with recipes from the restaurant. The whiskey bread and butter pudding delicious. Not tried speciallity on Cunard as food in the grills was so good we didn't want to miss any and the menu for Chopps was no different to what we could have in Quens Grill but I did dend down to the pub one night for trifle with no problem. I noticed it was then on the grills menu the following evening, dont know if it was just coincidence or if it would have been on the menu anyway.

              We really enjoyed the murder mystery evening on IOS in the Italian restaurant. The evening included all wines and other extras, a really fun event. We have also done chefs table on one ship, I think it was Sea princess. Whilst the service was excellent the food was only average.

              Tried both Seventeen and the Indian on P&0 Azura. Seventeen was for a birthday treat and it was excellent. Sindhu, the Indian was ok but not as good as food we have eaten in India so a little disappointed with that.

              I think it is usually worth trying the paid for restaurants just for a change of scenery especially on longer cruises.
              Last edited by ilovesunshine, east yorks; 8th January 2012, 03:07 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                No, never eaten in one, we find the food and a table in the MDR suits us fine.
                Delboy


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                  #9
                  Hi Mrs M. We are fans of Celebrity speciality restaurants, so much so that on our 7 night Alaska cruise last year we ate in their Olympic restaurant every night, where we were treated like royalty. It was better than the Queens Grill on QE2 or QV, with a proper table for two - large tables with lots of space between tables so you have privacy. The food was exquisite, with superb dishes such as foie gras and lobster bisque, and mains such as filet steak, duck, venison, lobster etc. They make wonderful soufflés to order for desert. They have a large cheese trolley. The service was superb. Much of the food is prepared tableside. Main courses are presented covered with cloches which are simultaneously removed by two (or more) waiters. There is a much higher ratio of staff to diners than in the MDR, so the service is much more attentive. The Maitre d' comes round at least once every night to make sure everything is OK. Because we were eating there every night, the Maitre d' brought the chef out to meet us on the first night, and made a point of offering to make anything we wanted that was not on the menu. We actually had no danger of getting bored with their menu in 7 nights, but we let him make us a chateaubriand one night, and different soufflés a couple of times. The best staff work in the speciality restaurants.

                  On Celebrity's M class ships, the restaurants also have artifacts from some of the world's great ocean liners. The Olympic restaurant on Millennium has the wood paneling from the Olympic - sister to the Titanic.

                  2011-06-09_11-20-18_919.jpg
                  Last edited by Nick_C, Worthing; 8th January 2012, 03:28 PM.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    tried whites and east on ventura; the food was excellent, plenty of space between tables and more "tranquil" than the mdr;it's a bit like comparing a restaurant to a hotel dining room.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Hello Mrs M.
                      Yes, we like to use them from time to time. We enjoy eating in the MDR most evenings, however it's lovely to be treated by the extra finery that the specialist restaurants on board each ship have to offer.

                      Our favourite memories are dining under the stars on a warm evening at MPW's, as Ventura sailed away from St Maarten and watching the artistry & showmanship of the Teppanyaki chefs as they prepared our meals before us all on NCL Gem a couple of years ago.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        We were on Brilliance of the Seas, for my 60th Birthday & tried both of the Specialty Restaurants at a supplement of course!

                        Loved my Dessert!



                        and this



                        Having done 10+ cruises, we have not felt the need to dine in speciality restaurants since, food so good in the MDR, on whatever Ship.
                        Lizzie sigpic

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Oooooooo that looks yummy!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Nick_C, Worthing View Post
                            Hi Mrs M. We are fans of Celebrity speciality restaurants, so much so that on our 7 night Alaska cruise last year we ate in their Olympic restaurant every night, where we were treated like royalty. It was better than the Queens Grill on QE2 or QV, with a proper table for two - large tables with lots of space between tables so you have privacy. The food was exquisite, with superb dishes such as foie gras and lobster bisque, and mains such as filet steak, duck, venison, lobster etc. They make wonderful soufflés to order for desert. They have a large cheese trolley. The service was superb. Much of the food is prepared tableside. Main courses are presented covered with cloches which are simultaneously removed by two (or more) waiters. There is a much higher ratio of staff to diners than in the MDR, so the service is much more attentive. The Maitre d' comes round at least once every night to make sure everything is OK. Because we were eating there every night, the Maitre d' brought the chef out to meet us on the first night, and made a point of offering to make anything we wanted that was not on the menu. We actually had no danger of getting bored with their menu in 7 nights, but we let him make us a chateaubriand one night, and different soufflés a couple of times. The best staff work in the speciality restaurants.

                            On Celebrity's M class ships, the restaurants also have artifacts from some of the world's great ocean liners. The Olympic restaurant on Millennium has the wood paneling from the Olympic - sister to the Titanic.

                            [ATTACH=CONFIG]4648[/ATTACH]
                            Hi Nick

                            Apart from the table for two [eight or more for us, I can talk to him indoors any time] and 'raising the domes', everything you quoted happens for us in QG. Indeed, it almost becomes a game...what can I fox them with tonight! I rarely win.
                            In July, when Andrew Nelder found out I used to live in the same city the chef came from he got the chef to come up and he discussed and produced a local speciality, just for me.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by bobbybuoy, peterborough View Post
                              Hello Mrs M, hope you are well.

                              We love the speciality restaurants. The main thing for us is the guarantee of a table for two, something that's not so easy to come by in MDRs. Another thing is the variety it introduces to the cruise and the opportunity to dine in a restaurant with the name of a 'top chef' over the door. I would have difficulty doing that on dry land.

                              In my experience, the food and the service is also better in these establishments although I know that some would disagree. I think I said elsewhere that about 70% of our dinners at sea have been in speciality restaurants, some of which, several years ago, did not attract a cover charge, only supplements on certain dishes.

                              I would have to say that the cost is sometimes over the top, but as dinner is the highlight of our evenings, I have to say that it is a price worth paying in my book. The best value speciality restaurant I've experienced is, without a doubt, James Martin's Bistro on OV1. We dined there every night of our cruise for the princely sum of about £9.50 per cover.

                              I'm looking forward to hopefully having a table for two on 'select dining' in the MDR on Eclipse later this year, but will definitely be trying Murano, Tuscan Grill and Qsine. I can hardly wait.

                              I would go as far as to say that I would hesitate now to sail on a ship without a speciality restaurant, or at least some form of alternative dining where I could enjoy a table for two.

                              Bob
                              Hi Bob
                              I'm very well thanks.
                              We like large tables, but I can understand if you wanted a table for two for an evening, sometimes a speciality is the only way of obtaining one.

                              Comment


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