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NCL Freestyle Dining?

Discussion in 'Norwegian Cruise Lines' started by AShann, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. AShann

    AShann Active Member

    Am wanting to book on the new Epic for late fall, but we have never sailed on NCL... I know they have the freestyle dining. The new ship has 11 freestyle and 10 "fee" venues. My question is, is it worth it to pay the extra amount for the specialty restaraunts? Or am I better off just sticking with what's included? Need to write some $ into the budget for these meals if it's a "don't miss" situation. Any advice?
  2. Mbandy

    Mbandy Well-Known Member

    We usually do one specialty restaurant per cruise. To us it is worth it. I just posted my NCL Sky review yesterday. Here's the paragraph I wrote on dining.

    The two main dining rooms were nicely appointed. Again, typical cruise line stuff. The dining room staff was friendly and efficient. The food was standard bill of fare. I was disappointed that there was never lobster or crème briolette in the dining room. If you wanted that you had to go to Cagney’s Steak House for an extra $25 which isn’t bad but $10 more on top of that if you wanted Lobster which I thought was a little excessive. We went to the Italian Specialty Restaurant one night and it was very good. I spent just over $50 for the cover charge of $15 per person and a bottle of wine which lasted two evenings. If you buy a bottle of wine you have the option of taking it back to your cabin or having them keep it for you so you can enjoy it a dinner the next day. There is also a French restaurant with a $20 per person cover. The Longboard Bar was a cool place to hang, just across from the arcade. Freestyle is just not our cup of tea. We enjoy interacting with the same table mates and wait staff on the entire cruise and we missed that. It would not keep us off of Norwegian in the future but we just prefer traditional. Formal night was pretty non-existent. I only saw a few other couples and families who were dressed in formal wear. We dressed in our finest anyway and it didn’t bother us one bit.

    Hope that helps :spyglass:
  3. Cruizer

    Cruizer Well-Known Member

    Whether or not it is "worth it" is up to you. On the NCL Star I had three free meals and five that I paid extra for. On the NCL Jade I had six free meals and seven extra cost meals. I enjoyed the extra cost meals, but it is up to you to decide if it is "worth it".
  4. nmnita

    nmnita Active Member

    like has been said, this is personal thing. Regardless of the line, we always choose one special meal. On NCl, because of the choices we will do 2 or 3 on a 7 night cruise: always Le Bistro, normally the Italian restaurant and maybe one other. To us, it is worth the extra few bucks.

  5. Bars78

    Bars78 Active Member

    LeBistro on NCL Pearl was terrific. The dinner was exceptional, but the fun was the flair with which the waitstaff served the meal. We felt pampered. Good wine didn't hurt.
  6. amistad

    amistad Well-Known Member

    Our first NCL cruise we only tried Cagney's, this past cruise we took in March we ate at Cagney's, Le Bistro 2 times, La Tratorria, Teppenyaki, and we even tried the crab legs in the Blue Lagoon that are an upcharge. Our favorite was Le Bistro, thus 2 times. I have to say we normally do eat at least one or two times in a specialty restaurant no matter what line we are on. The service is more attentive (smaller venue) and the quality is better. Budget a little extra money and make the most out of your cruise.
  7. nmnita

    nmnita Active Member

    wow, I haven't heard about the Crab legs in Blue Lagoon, that is something to remember. We too are partial to Le Bistro (well hubby does like Cagney's) I think so many of us, who have been cruising NCL for years are loyal to Le Bistro cause it was their signature specialty dining room. We experienced it for the first time in 1995 or 96.

  8. MissRabbit

    MissRabbit Active Member

    I'm glad this question was asked. one of our possible cruise ships to choose from is the Norwegian Pearl.

    The thing that was really a CON to me, was the cover charges for the specialty restauraunts. Does anyone know if there is a list somewhere that shows which of the restaurants have cover charges and which don't? (for the Pearl and the Epic)
  9. Cruizer

    Cruizer Well-Known Member

    The information is available. I don't have the time to research it at the moment.
  10. nmnita

    nmnita Active Member

    Just off the Pearl yesterday, here is a quick breakdown and yes, for the most part the specialty dining rooms are worth the cost, depending on your likes and dislikes, if your idea of good food is very basic, maybe not. One I would not spend money on is Tapinakiyas.(spelling)

    Cagney's: $25.00 with a couple of specialties a little pricier
    Le Bistro: $20.00 (same a couple more expensive)
    Mambos (not a good choice) $10
    Chinese: $15.00, yes, worth it
    Italian: $15.00, definently worth it.
    Sushi: probably not much different than what the have in the buffet, but probably more choices.

    Hope this helps a little.

  11. Lurline63

    Lurline63 Well-Known Member

    We were on Norwegian Jade a couple of weeks ago, and the prices were the same as nmnita just posted for her Norwegian Pearl cruise. (Welcome back, Nita!) The only difference was that the sushi bar was all-you-can-eat sushi for $15.

    Sit-down venues with no charge were the two main dining rooms (excellent, in our subjective opinions), and Blue Lagoon (not much variety, but enough so that we actually had dinner here one evening).

    Happy planning!
  12. Lover of the seas

    Lover of the seas Active Member

    I have experienced NCL's freestyle dining, it is a nice option...I personally would recommend to try it, just to get some different flavors outside the regular dining. I would say go for it and see if you like it! You're on vacation, make the most of it!
  13. gambler143

    gambler143 New Member

    My wife and I just returned from an NCL Pearl cruise to E Caribbean. The food at the specialty restaurants was very good however, the food at the free restaurants was very good as well, just not as many "high-end" menu selections. I would recommend waiting until the last 2 days of cruise. On the Pearl, they offered 2 for 1 dining options at some of the high-end restaurants and this may be a better option for the budget minded.
  14. nmnita

    nmnita Active Member

    glad to hear they offered 2 for 1. Our last couple of NCL cruises they have not. We will be on the Spirit on Feb 20th with some of our family. I can hardly wait.

  15. Jennlovestocruise

    Jennlovestocruise Active Member

    Thank you for asking the question and I am especially please to see all the write ups about the Pearl as I am going on it in one week (yay!!!!). This will be my second cruise on NCL and I have never done a specialty restaurant before but looking to eat at a few this time. When you say they offer the 2 for 1 cover charge dining, does that mean you have to wait to book it to take advantage of that or does it mean that if they offer it and you are already booked they give you the reduced rate? Would love more info on this! i was planning on cagneys for the lobster but to find out you have to pay the $10 on top of the $25 i feel is a bit excessive for a cruise but love what all is being said about lebistro and the italian restaurant. Curious about tappanyaki... any thoughts?

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