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Coastal Kitchen VS Specialty Dining?


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We will be in Allure in a few months in a Grande Suite.  I’ve never been in a suite on an Oasis Class ship and therefore never had the opportunity to experience Coastal Kitchen.  Since we are strictly specialty restaurant type cruisers, I am curious if Coastal Kitchen is the same quality as the specialty restaurants.  Wondering if we even need the unlimited dining package on our cruise.

If anyone can chime in who has experienced both I would really appreciate it.

 

Have a great day!

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I'm not fully equipped to answer since I normally cruise on the cheap, but I did stay in my first Grand Suite on Harmony on late May/early June. Some meals in CK were excellent (night one filet for example) while others were better than the MDR but definitely not specialty level.

If you're used to eating every meal in a specialty restaurant, I'm not sure CK will fit your expectations. I'd utilize it for breakfast, however.

NOTE: Just one man's opinion based on an insignificant sample size.

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I would, as I always say, my advice to a "First Time" cruiser is always eat at the included options. In addition to eating dinners in the MDR (Main Dining Room - included in price of your cruise) you should also make sure you have at least one Breakfast and one Sea Day Lunch in the MDR (more if you want but at least one of each).

Again my advice to someone sailing for the FIRST time in a suite that allows access to CK (Coastal Kitchen) would be to eat your meals there.  This provides you with a reference point to judge the quality of food and service at CK.  That said two thing also come to mind, food quality will depend on both the quality from stores and the ability of the chef and that can differ from ship to ship and from sailing to sailing.  Then food is also very very personal and everyone has different tastes and likes, personally I have enjoyed CK meals.

You did state that you are normally a Specialty Restaurant diner, so I might compromise after getting a look at the menus and just pick up a 3 night package. 

I can tell you that the comment on the 1st night fillet, is right on, every time it has been as good as chops or better even a few times.  Also I have had some unsatisfying meals in specialty restaurants also. 

No mater what you decide, i hope you have a great cruise

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We will be on Allure in about a month in Star and have tentatively only planned one - two dinners in CK at the moment.  We will be happy to report back since we are planning hitting all the specialty restaurants at least once, and feel that they all are not equal across the fleet.  

We did UDP on our last four cruises (Freedom, Wonder, Navigator and Harmony) and the last was in a CLS and we still only did one dinner in CK.  We did a couple lunches and breakfast, which was enough.  Izumi (both sides) and the Samba Grill are pretty unique and probably can't really be replicated by the MDR or CK.  There are positives and negatives to each, CK and UDP so to me there is a better question...  ...Which one do you think you would regret missing more, the variety and options provided by the UDP or the chance to dine exclusively in CK?

 

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Add a third endorsement for @OCSC Mike's assessment: an elevated MDR experience but sub-specialty dining experience.  For me it did hit that particular sweet spot of missing how hectic the MDR can be but still really getting to know your servers through the week (and having them get to know you, too!), which is something that you obviously miss out on with the UDP.

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I am actually not a fan of CK's food, the ambiance yes.... okay also the filet. You can always look at the menu beforehand and determine if you want to eat what they offer. Otherwise, I would supplement your dining with at least a 3N if not the UDP. Since Allure doesn't have a Playmakers, your lunch and snack offerings are a bit limited. I found the MDR on Allure, let's be honest if you are UDP people you know pretty much all MDRs, to be lacking for my needs. 

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9 hours ago, Crazycruiser50 said:

We will be in Allure in a few months in a Grande Suite.  I’ve never been in a suite on an Oasis Class ship and therefore never had the opportunity to experience Coastal Kitchen.  Since we are strictly specialty restaurant type cruisers, I am curious if Coastal Kitchen is the same quality as the specialty restaurants.  Wondering if we even need the unlimited dining package on our cruise.

If anyone can chime in who has experienced both I would really appreciate it.

 

Have a great day!

I too agree with @OCSC Mike. We did a B2B on Symphony recently, both sailings in a GS. The 1st leg we did a 3N Dining plan and the 2nd leg, a UDP. We also wanted to make sure to take advantage of CK. It is a very pleasant place to dine, quiet and relaxing. Great ambience in the evenings. However, we found the food to be of superior quality in the Specialty Restaurants. So even if you eat dinner frequently in the Specialty Restaurants, fully utilizing the UDP, there are plenty of opportunities to eat at and enjoy CK....Breakfast, Lunch as well as enjoy the adjoining lounge for afternoon/evening appetizers. Welcome to the 'Suite' life...there's no going back now!!!

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Thank you everyone for the replies!  I am going to stick with the UDP as we have become snobs when it comes to quality of food and service we receive in the specialty restaurants.  I will definitely try out CK for breakfast and maybe a few light lunches.  
 

Allure is 2 cruises from now, but again, I wasn’t sure what to expect from CK.  I always see everyone ranting and raving about it and was just curious if we would be making a mistake by booking the UDP and not end up needing it.  

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10 hours ago, SpicyCherry said:

I too agree with @OCSC Mike. We did a B2B on Symphony recently, both sailings in a GS. The 1st leg we did a 3N Dining plan and the 2nd leg, a UDP. We also wanted to make sure to take advantage of CK. It is a very pleasant place to dine, quiet and relaxing. Great ambience in the evenings. However, we found the food to be of superior quality in the Specialty Restaurants. So even if you eat dinner frequently in the Specialty Restaurants, fully utilizing the UDP, there are plenty of opportunities to eat at and enjoy CK....Breakfast, Lunch as well as enjoy the adjoining lounge for afternoon/evening appetizers. Welcome to the 'Suite' life...there's no going back now!!!

Lol your comment about no going back is spot on.  We used to book junior suites and then one day got a Royal up to an Owner’s Suite.  HUGE mistake hahaha.  
 

Our next cruise is in a regular balcony room as our kids are connected next to us.   We are going to try to make the best of it hahaha.  

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7 hours ago, Crazycruiser50 said:

 I will definitely try out CK for breakfast and maybe a few light lunches.

If you see ribs for lunch, highly recommended. They had so much meat on them I thought of the brontosaurus ribs from the opening to The Flintstones. 🤣

Can (should?) easily be eaten with a knife and fork.

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  • 1 month later...
On 8/17/2022 at 5:48 PM, ScooterScott22 said:

We will be on Allure in about a month in Star and have tentatively only planned one - two dinners in CK at the moment.  We will be happy to report back since we are planning hitting all the specialty restaurants at least once, and feel that they all are not equal across the fleet.

Quick report on our Allure specialty restaurant experience.

- Chops - one lunch and one dinner - on par with most of our other Chops experiences.  Food and service were maybe a notch above the others.  

- Izumi - one hibachi dinner, one sushi lunch - both good, again on par with the other experiences in the fleet.

- Chef’s Table - food was very good, some dishes better than others.  Cannot say enough about Andrei (sp?). He is great and we were happy to see him again, dined with him on Ovation in 2019.

- Samba Grill - nice experience, food was decent.  Fun to do something a little different on the ship.  Not high on the list to do again but would go for the variety.

- Sabor - lunch - maybe we were just too far into meals and snack deliveries but just average.  The food and service was fine but we were running out of room when we dined so not a good time to judge.

- Giovanni Table - one lunch - it looked like the older menu and food was ok, service was a little slow.

150 - two dinners - both were good, service was very good.  Wonder OTS still is best 150 in the fleet but this one seems pretty close, especially for an older/un-amped ship.

- Coastal Kitchen - one dinner in CK, one dinner in room - food was pretty good, service in CK was good.  Have to say that overall was fine with limited time there.  Stopped in twice for a drink on the way to dinner reservations, and also when checking in dinner, and have to say that some guests in there created a negative vibe.  
 

So the scorecard is Chops, 150, Chefs Table and Izumi are all easy green lights.  Sabor, Giovanni, Samba and CK were all fine.  There were no “never again” in the dining.  

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