I enjoy nice dining venues, but I can't describe myself as an overly discriminating foodie, and so checking out specialty restaurants never quite made it to the top of my list. 100+ cruise days and only one visit to a specialty restaurant (to celebrate my mom's birthday). That is until my most recent cruise, a transatlantic voyage on the Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas.
My Mom and I were invited to join some wonderful new friends in Royal's specialty steak house Chops Grille and I must admit this experience changed my perspective on specialty dining.
I had been commenting on how "little things" can change a good experience to a memorable and exceptional experience, whatever the venue - a cruise, a tour, a hotel, a restaurant. One may not notice every action individually, but together they add up and really make a big difference.
This was certainly the case in Chops Grille. Service from the entire staff was non-stop exceptional. Friendly, personable, easy going, professional, helpful and quick. I could tell by their interactions with all the guests how much they enjoyed being there.
Of course the main reason for going to a specialty restaurant is for the food, and I/we were not disappointed. Wonderful choices, from the starters to the desserts. The forest mushroom soup - over the top! Our table also tried the crispy goat cheese salad, the pan roasted scallops, shrimp and crab cake and beef charred carpaccio before moving on to the perfectly grilled, made to order filet mignon and ahi tuna. Heaven!
I had a lot of laughs with friends in the main dining venue, and the service and food were good, but clearly not at the same level. Not even close. When serving a large crowd (especially on the bigger ships), individualized service and a made to order dining experience like we had in Chops isn't a reality.
So is specialty dining worth the extra charge? I say yes, it is worth it (assuming you enjoy the type of food on the menu). Great friends, beautifully presented and delicious food combined with great service most definitely made for an exceptional and memorable dining experience. Thank you Maria and Kim for enlightening me!
Try specialty dining at least once on your cruise. You are after all on vacation and I have no doubt you will enjoy the exceptional experience.