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Birdy9003

Specialty dining package. What are your thoughts?

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My first post was such a hit I thought I would try my luck a second time.  I booked the norwegian epic in August and am super excited for my first real cruise.  Looking at the special dining restaurants and wondering what people thought  I see it starts at 89 usd per person plus tip.  Do many of you take this an option or is the food included satisfactory.  Thanks 

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5 minutes ago, Birdy9003 said:

My first post was such a hit I thought I would try my luck a second time.  I booked the norwegian epic in August and am super excited for my first real cruise.  Looking at the special dining restaurants and wondering what people thought  I see it starts at 89 usd per person plus tip.  Do many of you take this an option or is the food included satisfactory.  Thanks 

I speak for myself, there is plenty of good food at buffet and main dining rooms that are included so I don't use specialty dining, even when offered as a perk, I opt for the other perks like beverage package and wifi.

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Food in the MDR and buffet on NCL is good. Remember, you’ve already paid for your food in your fare so in my opinion I would not pay twice essentially even if the food is a bit better. I see most specialty restaurants empty on most cruises I sail because they are at rip off pricing now.

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We have eaten at all of the specialty restaurants on the Epic.  If I had to pay for them, no I would not book them because the food in the MDR is very good.  We get 2 free meals in the specialty restaurants as a loyalty benefit so we do eat there with that.  Our favorites are Le Bistro and Cagney's. 

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37 minutes ago, Birdy9003 said:

My first post was such a hit I thought I would try my luck a second time.  I booked the norwegian epic in August and am super excited for my first real cruise.  Looking at the special dining restaurants and wondering what people thought  I see it starts at 89 usd per person plus tip.  Do many of you take this an option or is the food included satisfactory.  Thanks 

 

I bought the 3 night dining package for my next cruise. This trip is turning out to be a special trip as it's the first trip totally solo. So I figured on getting as much "royal" treatment as I can get out of it. 🙂 

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We would never buy a dining package, if we want to eat Specialty then we just use our Platinum perks.  The food in the main dining room is great, and has been said, it has already been paid for.

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My wife and I ate at a couple of specialty restaurants on the Gem recently. They were included since we booked in a haven suite. The food and especially the service are much better in a specialty restaurant. HOWEVER, the food, if not the service (too slow), was extremely good in the main dining rooms (included). In fact, several members of our party enjoyed the food in the main dining rooms so much, they declined to pay extra to eat in  the specialty restaurants. If we had to pay my wife and I would book 1 meal (the French restaurant) and eat elsewhere for all the other meals. By the way, we also enjoyed some of the food in O'Sheehans a lot.  

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We love the specialty restaurants; we have done nothing but on a couple of sailings! Although they are mostly the same specialty restaurants from ship to ship, on each NCL ship we have tried we find one of the specialty dining rooms stands out for us as the favourite on that sailing, and it varies. It is really nice to have the extra space, it is generally quieter, and service is terrific. Our favourites tend to be Cucina and Le Bistro, but everyone has different tastes. Hope you enjoy your cruise!

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I wouldn't sail without it, always get it as one of the free at sea options.  That said, opinions vary.  I'm just not a fan of eating in the MDR's for every meal.  Makes me think I'm at a Realtor Banquet or the like.  

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1 hour ago, Birdy9003 said:

My first post was such a hit I thought I would try my luck a second time.  I booked the norwegian epic in August and am super excited for my first real cruise.  Looking at the special dining restaurants and wondering what people thought  I see it starts at 89 usd per person plus tip.  Do many of you take this an option or is the food included satisfactory.  Thanks 

We are NCL Platinum Plus members (i.e., lots of nights on NCL ships). We would never pay for specialty dining. The food in the Main Dining Rooms and other complimentary dining facilities (buffet, O’Shehan’s, Shanghai) are perfectly good and included intoir cruise fare. NO need to spend any additional money. 

 

Enjoy the Epic!  We have sailed on her 6 times in the past and loved every minute.  

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I like the food in the MDR and buffet, but I find it fun to get the 3-meal package and try the different specialty restaurants, especially Moderno. I feel that the 3-meal packing is a pretty good bargain to get chance to experience these other restaurants.

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Posted (edited)

I disagree with all the food is good in MDR/buffet statements, but, I won't go down that rat hole - I just put it out there so you understand my perspective.

 

I wouldn't pay for Specialty Dining explicitly, but if we are booking a cabin with Free at Sea perks, we always take SDP as one of them.  It sounds like you don't have SDP as a Free at Sea perk, so, my recommendation is to NOT buy the package, go on your cruise and learn what you do and don't like about the food that is included.  You'll then be better prepared to make this decision for your next cruise.

Edited by PATRLR

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We had the perk on our first NCL sailing on the dawn, and though we liked the specialty dinners I don't think I would pay for the package. Our next cruise even though we are in haven and had all the perk options I opted out of the special dining and if I want something from one of them will simply use the $ I saved on the gratuities to buy a la carte what I want but the MDR and free dining options were all excellent last cruise and I did not feel like spending more for food.

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I think overall, the food on NCL has improved over the past 5 to 10 years.

we are platinum plus so get our 2 free dinners already and we generally choose the dinner package for one of our perks if we get them. That being said, no I would not pay for a package, but if we didn't get the perk I certainly would.. We always did back before we were platinum. We would opt for a 2 night dinner package. It was worth it just from the service prospective and the added quality of the entrees. 

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I love the specialty restaurants - smaller, quieter, more attentive service. I would buy the package in a heartbeat, if for nothing else but Cagney's!

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When it is just the 2 of us the Specialty is what we prefer.  Nice and quiet with attentive service. 

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There's nothing "wrong" with the MDRs. For us, even if there was no SDP promo, we'd still buy a SDP. Just for the sake of going to different locations and trying different things. There's also nothing wrong with going to a specialty restaurant for early dinner then going to a MDR for late dinner....(guilty :classic_wink:). 

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When we first cruised, we would never go to a specialty restaurant.  Now we are platinum and look forward to the special dinners.  We enjoy the free Asian restaurants. We usually get a 3 day but next time we will do our homework and mix and match with the platinum benefits.  

 

I do believe MDR quality has decreased in the 15 years we have been cruising. 

 

Times change and and so do people. Enjoy the journey. 

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I love the specialty restaurants. I purchased a 7 night package for my 14 night cruise. To me it's a great deal. I know many would disagree, but that is my opinion. :). 

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Rather than pay extra for 7 Specialty meals when i have already paid for meals I would rather have the $166 put towards the next cruise.

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I paid for 7 specialty dinners for my upcoming  12 night transatlantic. I enjoy the service and food in the specialties and as a solo, I don't have the patience for an overly slow MDR dinner. Some nights I like just a quick buffet dinner or O'Sheehan's. Even back in the UDP days, every night at a specialty was just too much.

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Last cruise we didn't take it as a perk and paid to go to Cagney's one night, liked it so much we went a 2nd time. We are doing specialty dining 5 nights out of 10 on our cruise in two weeks. 

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We are not a fan of the new menus in some of the specialty restaurants. Our 14 night cruise in October 2018 we had 4 night sdp perk and 2 night sdp free as platinum. We almost skiiped our last night sdp meal because we liked the options in the main dining rooms better. Our next cruise we will skip the sdp perk. I thought the new menus in the main dining rooms were great.

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I'm on the Epic in Sept.  (You cruise first so please write a brief trip report when you return and let us know about your experience !)

I got the 3 sdp as a perk.  It's not something I would purchase, given that there are so many 'complimentary' choices on the Epic. I doubt that we will even utilize the sdp.  

This cruise is port intensive so  I think we'll end up grazing at the Buffet and O Sheehans on our busiest days.   After Cannes and Majorca, probably hit the MDR's.   

 

 

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Look forward to review this ship.  Don't think I will add any extra meals for now.  Looking forward to planning excursions and seeing what people love to do on board.  Some amazing tips so far and cant wait to hear more.

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