Dining – Cruise Ship Style

Brazilian fare in one of NCL's special dining restaurants.

Brazilian fare in one of NCL’s special dining restaurants.

One of the great joys of life is eating, which is also one reason many people cruise. Where else can you gorge on unlimited appetizers, soups, entrees and desserts whenever the urge strikes, which can be any time of the day or night?

Of course as we age, or in this case, wrinkle, we can’t eat like we used to. I recall when I used to show up for every feeding. These days I look at food and gain weight. Now I plan to spend at least 30 minutes a day in the fitness center so I can eat more than I would at home and an nth of what I used to eat on a cruise ship. Oh yeah, I don’t grab pizza, ice cream or a hotdog just  because it’s where I happen to be walking.

Fortunately for me, my tastes have changed over the years. I can avoid the dessert without feeling like I’ve missed something. Okay. I still have a weakness for a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a scoop of orange sherbet. Hey, it’s like the best cream sickle ever!

But I digress…

Now with all the food included in the price of the cruise, hereafter known as “free food”, why would you want to dine in a specialty restaurant and pay an additional fee? “Because it’s there” is not the correct answer. The answer is, because it’s special.

Now I know that lots of people would say that it’s just another way for the cruise line to make money. To be fair, it is. You might say that it’s the same food served elsewhere on the ship. It’s not.

I sampled my first specialty restaurant on the Celebrity Eclipse a few years back. It was our anniversary and we wanted a little more privacy, a table by the window and quite frankly, a little additional pampering. It was wonderful!  As I recall, the Tuscan Grille was an additional $25 per person. It was worth every penny. It made for an anniversary we’ll never forget.

Since that time, I sample these reservation-only gems on every cruise. It’s my guilty pleasure. I’ve had African lobster on Carnival; and sampled Brazilian cuisine on Norwegian Cruise Line.

So the next time you are on a cruise and wondering whether or not these optional dining spots are worth paying extra, give it a whirl. You just might get hooked!

Prices range from $10-$30 per person.


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