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Specialty Dining Package

by Paul
Specialty Dining Cruise Ship

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Pros and Cons of Purchasing a Specialty Dining Package on a Cruise Line Vacation

Embarking on a cruise line vacation offers a blend of adventure, relaxation, and, importantly, a chance to indulge in a wide array of culinary delights. One option available to cruisers is the purchase of a specialty dining package. This package allows access to the cruise’s more exclusive, often gourmet, dining venues that are not included in the standard cruise fare. Let’s dive into the advantages and disadvantages of opting for this gastronomic experience.

Pros of Purchasing a Specialty Dining Package

1. Culinary Variety and Quality

Specialty dining restaurants on cruise ships typically offer higher quality and a wider variety of cuisines compared to the main dining areas. From sushi bars and Italian trattorias to steak houses and French bistros, these venues provide a gourmet experience that can be a significant step up from the standard fare.

2. Intimate and Exclusive Atmosphere

These specialty venues tend to be smaller, offering a more intimate setting. This can be perfect for special occasions like anniversaries or birthdays, or simply if you prefer a quieter, more exclusive dining experience.

3. Fixed Cost for Premium Dining

Purchasing a package usually means you pay a fixed cost for access to meals that would otherwise be considerably more expensive. This can be a cost-effective way to enjoy luxury dining every night of your cruise.

4. Enhanced Dining Experience

Specialty dining often comes with added touches like superior service, unique culinary presentations, and exceptional ambiance. This can significantly enhance the overall enjoyment of your dining experience on board.

Cons of Purchasing a Specialty Dining Package

1. Additional Expense

The most obvious downside is the additional cost. Specialty dining packages are an extra expense on top of the cost of the cruise itself. For those on a tight budget, this can add up, especially on longer cruises.

2. Potential Underutilization

If your cruise itinerary is packed with excursions and activities, you might find yourself too busy or too tired to make the most of your specialty dining package. This underutilization means you might not get your money’s worth.

3. Limited Availability and Reservations

Popular specialty restaurants can fill up quickly, meaning you might not always get a reservation at your preferred time or even at all. This can be frustrating, especially if dining there was something you were particularly looking forward to.

4. Missing Out on Other Dining Experiences

By focusing on specialty restaurants, you might miss out on some of the unique dining experiences offered in the main dining areas, such as themed nights or the opportunity to dine with different people.


Opting for a specialty dining package on your cruise can offer an enhanced culinary experience, with high-quality food, a variety of cuisines, and a more intimate dining atmosphere. However, it’s important to consider the additional cost, your cruise itinerary, and your personal dining preferences. If you’re a food enthusiast who enjoys trying different cuisines and doesn’t mind the extra expense, a specialty dining package could be a delightful addition to your cruise experience. On the other hand, if you’re on a tight budget or prefer a more casual dining experience, you might find greater value in the standard dining options included in your cruise fare. Either way, the choice should align with what makes your vacation most enjoyable and memorable.

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