In the past when going on a cruise, passengers had little or no choice of where to dine, there were seldom more than one main dining room with a few cafe choices. But now, today's passengers, have a large number of dining options, from cupcake shops to finger food cafes, to five-course gourmet meals. There is also delis and places to get starbucks coffee and after-dinner cappuccinos.
Many of these places are complimentary and included in the fare paid for the cruise. However with the upgrade to Specialty Restaurants and master chefs, more and more of these eating spots come with an added fee.
The focus of this article is on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, one of the top cruise companies sailing around the world on over 20 ships. Their dining options are varied and plentiful and carry descriptive labels to assist with making the right choice. Labels such as snacks and bites, deli, asian, american, global, family, casual, healthful and pizza, easily explains what type of food is served and the type of ambience to expect.
Most of these have no added fees, but with the addition of 'Specialty Restaurants' a few more descriptions and fees were added. These would include Upscale, gourmet, steakhouse, seafood, Italian, Mexican, Latin and Asian, with fees that range from $20 to $95.
The Main Dining Restaurant on all of Royal Caribbean's cruise ships, is labeled upscale, and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in an elegant setting with multi-course meals and such delicious desserts as Banana Creme Brulee, Grand Marnier Souffle and Chocolate sensations.
Portifino, an upscale Italian restaurant is on at least 8 of the ships, serving classical Italian creations at a added cost of $20.
One of the most exclusive venues found on the 'Allure the Oasis' and five other ships is a five-course meal paired with fine wine and created by the Executive Chef. It is limited to 12 guests each paying $95.
Before going on a cruise it is possible to reserve a dining package in advance. These packages, that include several specialty restaurants, saves passengers money over waiting and booking the restaurants individually.
One of the most popular is the 'All-access tour and dinning package' which includes a tour from the galley to the bridge and dinner at two of the best specialty restaurants. The cost of $170 per person, reflects a saving of $30 from booking each segment individually. This package is offered on Royal Caribbean's Freedom class ships and it is limited to 15 guests.
When planning a cruise it is best to take into consideration all aspect involved. With dining one of the top priorities, prospective guests need to look at what the ship they are sailing on has to offer.
(a) The My Time dining allows them to reserve the time they wish to dine, in the main dining restaurant;
(b) My family dining, also in the main dining room, gets the kids in the family served right away, before they are picked up by the Adventure Ocean Youth program, then the adults can relax and enjoy their meal on their own.
Taking a cruise includes more than just choosing a cabin, anyone planning such a trip should consult either, with a Travel agent or one of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's agents, to find out and book the options available. This allows them to get the facts and actual cost of what the cruise will be.