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Royal Caribbean trials dining room menu change in effort to speed up service

In:
14 Nov 2022
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The next time you eat in the main dining room, the menu might look a little different.

Symphony of the Seas main dining room

Guests sailing on Symphony of the Seas have reported seeing a change to the main dining room menu layout, as well as a change to the lobster choice.

The main dining room is a staple of the cruise ship dining experience, primarily because it is included with your cruise fare and open for dinner every night.

A reader on Reddit spotted the change, noting, "only one feature in each category per night, and the classics section is gone entirely! Only 4 items per category now."

In looking through the menu via the Royal Caribbean app, the recurring items have been removed, such as spaghetti bolognese, chicken, strip steak, et al.

On the second formal night, the Lobster Tail is listed as Cold water Maine lobster with the note an additional lobster tail would cost extra.

"Second Lobster Tail will be charged $16.99 plus 18% gratuity."

Dining room waiter

Prior to this change, the main dining room did not charge extra for more than one lobster tail on the second formal night.

Another change is the extra charge steak that was already on the menu has increased in price from $16.99 to $19.99.

The change is limited to Symphony of the Seas currently.

Why did Royal Caribbean make this change?

Dining room menu

I was just as curious about this change as everyone reading it, so I reached out to Royal Caribbean for clarification on the changes.

The dining room menu update is limited to Symphony of the Seas currently, and the company is adamant they will be listening to guest feedback onboard the ship for their opinions.

The impetus for making the change is for the guest experience in an effort to simplify the dining room menu, which would allow the service to speed up.

Symphony of the Seas dining room

While there is no denying there are less items on the menu than before, one of the chief complaints of the dining room has always been how long the meal takes. 

Swiftness of service is a focus Royal Caribbean wants for the dining room.  By having more consistency of what's being prepared in the kitchen, they can produce food faster.

A more focused menu will hopefully translate to a faster kitchen without compromising the experience for guests.

They were quick to point out there will still be a beef, fish, poultry, and vegan option every night of the cruise.

I asked about costs being a factor, but Royal Caribbean said they're always looking for ways to improve the guest experience and reduce the lag that can occur during the meal.  One night there could be too much time between the appetizers and entrees, while another night the appetizers and entrees come immediately after each other with little delay inbetween.

Main Dining Room onboard Symphony of the Seas

Ultimately, Royal Caribbean will rely on guest feedback from people on Symphony of the Seas to determine how successful this change ends up being.

I asked about the change to the lobster tail in if the cold water Maine lobster is a larger serving size than the previous option, but am waiting a response on that.

Reaction to the changes

As you might imagine, a lot of cruisers had plenty of thoughts on this change.

In the Royal Caribbean Dining facebook group, there were over 200 comments at the time of this posting discussing the change.

Jim Rath posted, "Inflation hits everywhere, not just on land."

James Romo said, "Royal is doing it's hardest to make me want to switch cruise lines."

Karah Ryan Smith thinks the lobster change is more than just a pricing switch, "Maine lobster is definitely different than the Caribbean lobster that is usually served. Maybe that’s why."

Leigh Montgomery wrote, "I’m sailing on Symphony next week and it says the same thing. What a bummer!"