It’s Saturday – time to think about happy things like vacations…..cruise vacations. Mileage programs aren’t the only news in travel this week. Here’s a little cruise news you can use.
Royal Caribbean Cancels Dynamic Dining on Oasis-class Ships – Dynamic Dining was met with decidedly mixed reviews upon its introduction on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. Personally, the MJ on Travel team really enjoyed it, and we were looking forward to seeing it introduced on Oasis-class ships. RCL delayed its rollout on Oasis as it worked to perfect the concept on Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, ultimately introducing a “classic” concept with fixed tables and times within the rotational restaurants. This seemed like a good solution to me, and I’m looking forward to trying it sometime on a future Quantum-class cruise. However, we won’t be seeing Dynamic Dining on Oasis-class ships. The company announced this week that it will not introduce Dynamic Dining on Oasis-class afterall, instead sticking with traditional dining. Dynamic Dining will remain on ships that were designed for it. Of course, the Oasis-class ships have over 20 dining options, so you won’t miss variety if you desire it. Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine will be featured on the upcoming Harmony of the Seas next year as well.
NCL Introduces á la carte Pricing in Specialty Restaurants – NCL will start pricing formerly “fixed fee” restaurants in an à la carte manner. According to the company, this is about “providing guests the freedom to savor an array of tastes and gourmet dishes and the flexibility to choose how many courses they wish to enjoy during their meal.” At Cagney’s Steakhouse, starters will range from $4.99 to $7.95 and main courses from $17.99 to $29.99. At Le Bistro, guests will find new main courses in addition to traditional French favorites, including Bouillabaisse, Pan-Seared Jumbo Bay Scallops and Veal Medallions with Sauce Morrel, starting at $15.99. Moderno Churrascaria and Teppanyaki will remain at a cover charge of $19.95 and $29.95 respectively, according to NCL. Full details here.
NCL isn’t the only one toying with this concept, Royal Caribbean’s Chops Grille now charges an additional fee above the seating fee for some steaks, and their Izumi concept has always been á la carte. That said, it’s a new day in specialty dining. Personally, I prefer one set fee, but I can see how some might benefit from this pricing. Not everyone wants a 5-course meal, and they may benefit from the freedom to pick and choose courses and pay separately.
NCL Ups Guest Services Surcharge – More NCL news. They’ll be increasing onboard service charges for cruises effective August 1, 2015. The charge will rise from $12.95 to $13.50 per day. Service charges or onboard gratuities are shared among onboard staff. Suite guests will pay $15.50 per day. No comment other than I always pre-pay my onboard gratuities, and usually tip extra in cash for notable service.
Celebrity Cruises Appoints First Female Captain (who happens to be American) – Captain Kate McCue will take the helm of Celebrity Summit in August 2015. Covered here. Congratulations Captain Kate!
-MJ, July 18, 2015