Jump to content

Specialty vs MDR


Aulayan
 Share

Recommended Posts

Soooo I'm going to open up a can of worms.

Is Specialty at this point even worth it?

I just got off the Oasis and did two specialty restaurants and 5 nights at the MDR.  Chops and Giovanni's Table were the two we did.  And the opinion of my wife and I were on both specialty restaurants were 'The food is the same quality as the MDR'.  I've heard in Ye Olden Times that the various cruise companies MDR's were tripe (at best of times), but word was that most of them have put more effort into their food.

Our only previous cruise was Disney and the specialty restaurant on the Magic (Palo) was heads and tails above their dining room (And is still the best meal I've ever had).  Giovanni's is about the same price as Palo, Chops Grille is slightly more.  Neither of them blew me away and if looked at from a pure Cost to Enjoyment ratio, was much lower than what we'd get from a on-land restaurant.

Now there is a lot we haven't tried.  Portside BBQ we did do for lunch and it was good.  We were a poor Balcony Family and thus couldn't try Coastal Kitchen, nor did we do 150 or Playmakers or Izumi or Rockets. (Izumi I could definitely see being a draw, as with BBQ, because they're a specific kind of food not in the MDR)/

So, was I missing something? On other ships are they amazing restaurants? Or is it more just a destination away from the MDR at a high price point?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends on the ship and what you like to eat. NY Strip is my least favorite cut of steak to eat, and that is what they offer in the MDR, so the steak offerings at Chops make it worth it for me. I will also get my money's worth with an afternoon snack at Johnny Rockets. If the Dodgers make it to the WS I think that I will be spending a couple of nights in Playmakers, and will put that $20 credit to good use. It really isn't about the quality of the food being better or worse, it is more about not having to say no to specialty dining if I want to go there. With all that said, I would not do any specialty with out one of the packages because it wouldn't be worth it for a-la-carte.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Egeria said:

With all that said, I would not do any specialty with out one of the packages because it wouldn't be worth it for a-la-carte.  

I agree with this.  I like having the extra options above and beyond the MDR. When you are a repeat cruiser the MDR food gets old. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have cruised a lot.  The MDR has gotten a little  boring to me.  It is ok once in a while.  But prefer specialty dining.   If I eat a steak I only want filet mignon/tenderloin or rather have something else all together.   I really like 150 for the scallops and halibut, which I can't get anywhere else.  Jamies is fabulous IMO.  And can't beat a steak at Chops.   I like the variety of atmosphere with the different restaurants.  I also do eat in the MDR on nights they have something I really want to eat on the menu.  All of the food is good at all restaurants on cruises.  And everyone has different tastes.   Just enjoy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Specialty restaurants are smaller venues (than MDR), and a higher waitstaff to guest ratio allowing for more attentive service.  Also you're not rushed, so you may enjoy your meal a little better.  I think you see better cuts of meat at Chops.   All a matter of personal taste.  If you're on O/Q class - UDP is the way to feel unfettered in your dining decisions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We find the MDR food and atmosphere pretty good, and our experiences in specialty restaurants have been uneven - poorly cooked pasta on one occasion, but definitely better/different menus on the whole.  However, if we ever go back it will be for the Asian food experience.  I think it boils down to how much of a foodie you are and how much you want to spend on a cruise for "extras".  I prefer nicer excursions myself, or a meal in port (now there is a "specialty" experience), but as many posts on this and related topics show, the specialty restaurants have quite a following.  I have always been cost-sensitive, so I am picker about the value proposition than travelers for whom price is not really a factor (just the quality of the experience).  I would also add that when we dine, we prefer shared tables so we can get to know other guests.  That is a big part of our dining experience, and difficult to duplicate in specialty restaurants (unless you are on some sort of group cruise).  In a nutshell, determine what sort of "total experience" you seek, and plan accordingly.  For us, the MDR augmented by an occasional lunch or dinner specialty meal is the best fit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m on the Freedom right now having the UDP for the first time.  While I am enjoying the specialty dining experience, I’m missing the special “bond” with the waiter/assistant waiter at the MDR.

I’ve been getting so stuffed during the main meal times that I haven’t even used my UDP for Johnny Rockets and Playmakers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/17/2021 at 8:27 PM, Aulayan said:

Soooo I'm going to open up a can of worms.

Is Specialty at this point even worth it?

I just got off the Oasis and did two specialty restaurants and 5 nights at the MDR.  Chops and Giovanni's Table were the two we did.  And the opinion of my wife and I were on both specialty restaurants were 'The food is the same quality as the MDR'.  I've heard in Ye Olden Times that the various cruise companies MDR's were tripe (at best of times), but word was that most of them have put more effort into their food.

Our only previous cruise was Disney and the specialty restaurant on the Magic (Palo) was heads and tails above their dining room (And is still the best meal I've ever had).  Giovanni's is about the same price as Palo, Chops Grille is slightly more.  Neither of them blew me away and if looked at from a pure Cost to Enjoyment ratio, was much lower than what we'd get from a on-land restaurant.

Now there is a lot we haven't tried.  Portside BBQ we did do for lunch and it was good.  We were a poor Balcony Family and thus couldn't try Coastal Kitchen, nor did we do 150 or Playmakers or Izumi or Rockets. (Izumi I could definitely see being a draw, as with BBQ, because they're a specific kind of food not in the MDR)/

So, was I missing something? On other ships are they amazing restaurants? Or is it more just a destination away from the MDR at a high price point?

We were on the same sailing and agree.  The quality at the specialty restaurants was no different from complimentary dining.  We dined at Chops, 150 and Izumi at the beginning of our trip and we were disappointed with all three venues.  The specialty dining quality wasn't the same as pre-covid.  Communicated this to the specialty dining and other staff, they didn't seem surprised.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/21/2021 at 6:41 AM, PG Cruiser said:

I’m on the Freedom right now having the UDP for the first time.  While I am enjoying the specialty dining experience, I’m missing the special “bond” with the waiter/assistant waiter at the MDR.

I’ve been getting so stuffed during the main meal times that I haven’t even used my UDP for Johnny Rockets and Playmakers.

We used to love MDR for this exact reason. The food was always great but what we really looked forward to is seeing the staff every night. However, over the last couple of years or so, we found the staff seemed to be stretched a little thin changing the experience/bond with the great MDR folks. At least on the ships we sailed. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, Sea Squirrel said:

However, over the last couple of years or so, we found the staff seemed to be stretched a little thin changing the experience/bond with the great MDR folks. At least on the ships we sailed. 

On my first cruise post-COVID, I was literally by myself at the MDR on the Allure at 7PM (the busiest time pre-COVID).  So I got the royal Royal treatment.

87F9BEAC-2516-4D4D-8C05-B3FC77D1B680_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.ea6d679a0e3cb2aede0b0733df6a3b3d.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really liked the MDR on the Anthem pre-covid, but I didn't go there on my last cruises on the Oasis since the re-start. Mostly because I was in suites and went to the CK when I wasn't doing specialty dining. My problem with the MDR now is that MyTime dining starts at 6:45 and I like to eat early. I understand it's due to physical distancing in the dining rooms and they have to accommodate the set time dining first. Hopefully, as time goes on, things get back to normal and MyTime allows earlier dining. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/30/2021 at 10:31 AM, BrianB said:

I really liked the MDR on the Anthem pre-covid, but I didn't go there on my last cruises on the Oasis since the re-start. Mostly because I was in suites and went to the CK when I wasn't doing specialty dining. My problem with the MDR now is that MyTime dining starts at 6:45 and I like to eat early. I understand it's due to physical distancing in the dining rooms and they have to accommodate the set time dining first. Hopefully, as time goes on, things get back to normal and MyTime allows earlier dining. 

We were on Oasis at our MDR was at 5:30 also I definitely wouldn't say there was social distancing at the tables.  There was maybe 3' between us and the tables to my right and I had to slide sideways between two chairs and two tables to get to mine. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello, 

I was on the Oasis's Sister ship Allure of the Seas in 2019. I personally did feel that it was worth i, but that will really depend on your traveling style and who you are on the ship with. I dined at 150 Central Park, Chop's grille, & Izumi. The reason why we enjoyed it was it gave us something different to eat than the usual MDR food. Secondly it allowed us to experience a different dining ambiance.  My kids especially loved the hibachi at Izumi. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm looking forward to 150 Central Park & Izumi (if my GF daughter can eat there).  I'd prefer those over Chops & Giovanni if I'm going to spend the money, since I've eaten at those 2 before, & in August it will be my first time on Oasis. Also like CK, but I've heard it's harder for JS passengers to get the dinner reservations on Oasis than it is on Anthem.  Portside BBQ & El loco Fresh will be worth a look also.  

As others say -- it's all in what you want. My DD is 31, disabled, and would be happy with scrambled eggs with cheese, toast, and bacon for breakfast, grilled cheese, a burger or chicken fingers for lunch, and fish or spaghetti for dinner (with her shrimp cocktail appetizer, and cheesecake with chocolate sauce for dessert) -- basically, it's like traveling with a 5 year old.  So, specialty restaurants are wasted on her, but DH will want to try a few, and so will I, so we do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...