The Rockhouse Restaurant in Negril, Jamaica.

The Rockhouse Restaurant in Negril, Jamaica.

I’ll never forget the first time my mother said, “why are you going to eat in Jamaica when you can eat for free on the ship?”  I’ll tell you why!  For me, it’s more than wanting to sample the local cuisine (although it is the primary reason)…I just like having options.  And, I love having options aboard as well.

Two of the great debates (among cruisers) lately are traditional dining versus anytime dining, and whether the surcharge for certain alternative venues are justified.  Regardless of your preferences and opinions, one thing is certain…the cruise lines don’t make us do anything…we choose…and we have options!

I’ve never understood the debate between anytime diners and traditional diners, since you have the ability to choose either option!  Yes, even on NCL; the company that introduced the Freestyle dining concept.  In fact, before the terms “Freestyle” and “anytime” dining existed, we’ve all swayed from our assigned times in the Main Dining Room to eat at the buffet; or to dine ashore!  “Anytime dining” has always existed!  Although dining in the main room was what the majority of folks were accustomed to, it also served as the “fall back plan.”  We knew our settings would be there waiting for us, in the event we did not want to dine elsewhere.  Even with the assigned time, we CHOSE to dine at that time!

Surcharges seem to be another hot topic with regards to cruises.  And, I have absolutely no problem with surcharges…for several reasons:

  • The Specialty Cafe example:  Take any specialty coffee shop on any ship…if these items were included (in your fares), everybody would patronize and the wait times would be ridiculous.  Furthermore, you can still get your FREE coffees and teas at their traditional locations on board
  • The Specialty Restaurant example:  Again, you have a choice, and these choices do not have to be made way in advance.  The inclusive dining options are still there!  And, for several, when you are on holiday, you might want to take your dining experience to the next level of service.  It is nice to have the option.
  • The Cruise Fare example:  Cruise fares, on average, have decreased over the years.  If several of these extras were to be included in the fare, the cruise-only price would certainly increase, whether you take advantage of the options or not.  Currently, cruise prices are reasonable, and you only pay for the extras if you use them!

There are no right or wrong answers to the debates briefly touched upon above, but I do know this… the Bermuda restaurateurs will certainly get to know us as we “Breakaway in late May!”

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