NCL To Charge A La Carte In Many Specialty Restaurants

Open Jaw

While the trend in cruising appears to be more inclusive pricing, Norwegian is going in the other direction, at least when it comes to specialty restaurants.

Beginning in October with the debut of its largest ship, Norwegian Escape, the menus for several alternative dining establishments will be priced a la carte. The line plans to roll out a la carte dining fleetwide on January 1, 2016, with the exception of entertainment dining like Cirque Dreams & Dinner or The Illusionarium.

La Cucina, Le Bistro, Cagney's Steakhouse and Bayamo, a new restaurant from Chef Jose Garces, will be priced a la carte, while Moderno Churrascaria and Teppanyaki will retain their cover charges -- $19.95 and $29.95, respectively -- as will entertainment dining such as "Wine Lovers the Musical" and "For The Record: The Brat Pack."

Starters at Cagney's will range from $4.99 to $7.95, main courses from $17.99 to $29.99. New menu additions at French restaurant Le Bistro will include bouillabaisse and pan-seared jumbo bay scallops, starting at $15.99 each. Italian venue La Cucina will offer main dishes like osso bucco alla Milanese or pan-seared sea bass filet at $12.99 each.

The main dining rooms, the buffet, O'Sheehan's and all of the Asian venues except Teppanyaki and Wasabi will remain complimentary.

Reaction at popular consumer cruise website Cruise Critic was fast and mostly furious. Jason George, presumably a travel seller, wrote:

All these changes are muddying up the water for those of us that are trying to sell an "all inclusive" vacation. Now you have to explain you can buy a package, or you can pay per item, or you can go to the buffet, or you can go to the main dining room. Oh and there are 4 drink packages, and Internet packages and coffee packages. Gah!!!”

Maureen Carrita had this response: “Definitely going to chase away customers. I don't mind paying for a good meal, but I'm sick of NCL tucking it to us every chance they get. They're going to see how many people eat at the buffet only when they do that. Get ready for longer lines!”

Another CruiseCritic commenter reflected the views of other on the site, writing: “Just another way to scrape a few extra dollars out of people who already paid for their cruise.”

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