Since Norwegian Cruise Line made most of the specialty restaurants on their ships a la carte, more readers have been asking about the specialty dining package. While we have taken a look at the specialty dining package on Norwegian Escape, we recently had the chance to test the package out again on another ship. Would we get the same value and result this time around? Here is our breakdown of our experiences with the Norwegian Getaway dining package.

Norwegian Getaway Dining Package Review

For those who don’t know, the Norwegian Specialty Dining package entitles users to dine at many of the for-fee restaurants on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship for one set price. The specialty dining plans are available for all NCL ships. Of course, some ships offer more restaurants than others from which to choose. Therefore, deciding whether you should get the package can be ship dependent.

Addicted to Norwegian Cruise LineNorwegian Getaway Dining Package

You can purchase the dining package as early as 90 days prior to boarding using your My NCL account. Or, you can book onboard during the first two days of the cruise. If you pre-book, you can save $10 off the ship prices. Below are the current rates for the dining plan as of July 2017. All prices are subject to an 18% service charge. For instance, if you purchase the 5 night specialty dining plan, it is $99 a person, plus 18% gratuity ($17.82) for a total of $116.82, or $23.64 per dinner. If you wait to get the plan on the ship, you can purchase it at Guest Services, at any restaurant, or on your stateroom television.

Norwegian Getway Dining PackageNorwegian Getaway Dining Package

The dining plan is structured on a per night basis. Regardless of the length of your cruise, the minimum dining package you can purchase is for 3 nights. The maximum amount of nights you can purchase is equal to the number of nights of your sailing, which for most Norwegian Getaway cruises would be 7 nights.

What is Covered in the Norwegian Getaway Dining Package?

Below are all the restaurants on Norwegian Getaway that accept the dining plan:

Margaritaville
La Cucina
Teppanyaki
Moderno
Cagney’s Steakhouse (limited to one entree)
Le Bistro (limited to one entree)
Ocean Blue (an additional $15 surcharge when redeemed for this restaurant)
Raw Bar (an additional $7 surcharge)
Wasabi Sushi (an additional $7 surcharge)
Norwegian Getaway Dining PlanNorwegian Getaway Dining Package

The following venues are complimentary, so you do not need a dining plan to dine at any of these restaurants.

Garden Cafe (Buffet for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)
Savor and Taste Dining Rooms (Breakfast and Lunch on Sea Days, Nightly Dinner)
Tropicana Dining Room (Nightly Dinner)
O’Sheehan’s Pub (24 hour dining venue serving Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, plus late night snacks)

The three main dining rooms serve the same menu, which rotates each evening. See a sampling of restaurant menus here. Other dining options including Room Service, the Bake Shop, Dolce Gelato, and Atrium Cafe which are not included in the cruise fare and do not accept the specialty dining package. You will need to pay a la carte for items purchased at these locations.

Once at a restaurant that accepts the meal plan, you are free to order as much as you want. In the case of Le Bistro and Cagney’s Steakhouse, there are additional charges if you order a second entree. You can order as many starters, sides, and desserts as you want for no additional charges. The Seafood Extravaganza is also not included in the Ocean Blue upcharge.

How to Use the Norwegian Getaway Dining Package

Using your dining plan is very simple. First off, you need to decide how many nights you want to dine at specialty restaurants. Then, you will need to pick at which restaurants you want to dine and make reservations.

If you are over planners like us, you can make dining reservations at your preferred restaurants starting 90 days before you sail using your online cruise planner. Freestyle cruisers can make reservations once onboard or simply walk up to a restaurant to see if they have availability on a given night. Some restaurants are very popular and do fill up quickly, so we always suggest making at least a few reservations. If your plans change, you can always cancel your reservations 24 hours in advance and not be charged (Just remember that any unused meals are not refunded at the end of your cruise.).

Norwegian Getaway Dining PackageNorwegian Getaway Dining Package

Your room key card will indicate you have a dining plan, and you should also let the hostess know you have a package upon check-in. When the NCL staff swipes your card, they should ask if you want to use the package. This is usually a yes; although, depending on where you are dining, you might not choose to use a meal. For example, if you dine at Margaritaville for lunch, it may not be the best value to use one of your meal credits. At the end of your meal, you will get a receipt which details the prices of the meal and your (most likely) zero balance. At this point, you can provide additional gratuity to your server if desired.

Why You Should Get a Norwegian Getaway Dining Package

On our Norwegian Getaway cruise, we had a three night specialty dining package which retails for $81.42 per person with service charges ($27.14 per meal). We used this package to eat at La Cucina, Moderno, and Teppanyaki. Moderno and Teppanyaki have flat fees per person ($24.95 and $29.95, plus 18%). At La Cucina, we each got an appetizer, entree, and dessert. My a la carte total was $31.82 ,and the Princess’ total was $17.66.

In total for our 3 specialty dinners, I would have spent $96.67 if we paid a la carte. So, paying for the meal plan saved me over 15%. However, the Princess did not fare as well. The total a la carte costs for her meals were $82.43, which meant she save just over $1 with the plan. Keep in mind that the per meal cost does decrease as you purchase more meals on the plan adding further value.

Norwegian Getaway Dining PackageNorwegian Getaway Dining Package

During this cruise, we were treated to complimentary specialty dinners at both Ocean Blue and Cagney’s Steakhouse by the cruise line. If we had used the specialty dining package at one or both of these venues instead, the value would have been much better, as the meals are more expensive at these restaurants.

But, we did not pay for the meal plan, as it was a perk for getting a balcony room, along with an Ultimate Beverage Package. When comparing prices for inside rooms to a balcony room, upgrading is often worth the costs to get these additional perks. In most instances, you will see a difference of about $300-$400 a person when going from an inside to a balcony category. Selecting the beverage package, valued at $553 (pre-grauity) and the three meal dining package at $69 (pre-gratuity) makes upgrading an easy decision. Often times you can get these two perks for selecting an oceanview room, which is only about $150-$200 more a person when compared to an interior cabin. Keep in mind that even though you are getting these 2 perks as part of the free at sea promotion, you will still be required to pay the 18% gratuity for both packages.

While on this trip we did not score as much of a savings as we have in the past, we still recommend the specialty dining package. This is especially true when you get the plan as a bonus for booking certain cabin categories. A specialty dining package eliminates the worry of adding up a la carte prices and the sticker shock at the end of the cruise. You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want!

 Comments

Have you used a specialty dining package on Norwegian Cruise Line? Did you get a good value by using these plans? Drop us an anchor below with your review of the Norwegian Specialty Dining Package.

Norwegian Getaway Dining Package

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About the Author

DB & The Princess

Welcome Aboard! We are Don and Heidi, the husband and wife travel team behind EatSleepCruise.com. We took our first cruise vacation together 10 years ago and have been hooked ever since. Follow along as we share our travel tips, cruise reviews, information on ports of call, and the latest cruise news to help you plan the ultimate cruise vacation. Are you ready to embark on your journey to “sea the world, one port at a time”? Read More...

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