Norwegian Cruise Line is known for its “Freestyle Dining”. offering several complimentary and for-fee restaurants across the fleet. While it can get expensive paying a la carte at the line’s “specialty restaurants”, Norwegian Cruise Line does offer Specialty Dining Packages. We have just returned from our latest cruise using one of these plans and are here to provide you with a complete guide to the Norwegian Bliss Specialty Dining Package.
Overview of the Norwegian Bliss Specialty Dining Package
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. Given that each ship has an array of different restaurants, deciding on whether you should get the package can be ship dependent.
You can purchase the dining package as early as 120 days prior to boarding using your My NCL account. Or, you can book onboard during the first two days of the cruise. Below are the advertised rates for the dining plan as of October 2018.
All prices are subject to a 20% service charge. If you choose to wait to buy the plan once on the ship, you can purchase it at Guest Services, at any restaurant, or on your stateroom television. Although, you will be paying at least $10 more per plan.
All adults in a stateroom must purchase a dining plan. Of course, you can not use the meal plan to buy a meal for someone not on the package. The plans also do not cover any alcoholic beverages, just food at the specialty restaurants.
When you are seated at a restaurant, they will ask you if you want to redeem a credit for the meal.
Below are all the specialty restaurants on Norwegian Bliss that accept the dining plan:
- La Cucina
- Los Lobos
- Q Texas Smokehouse
- Margaritaville at Sea
- Cagney’s Steakhouse (limited to one entree)
- Le Bistro (limited to one entree)
- Ocean Blue (limited to one entree and an additional $10 surcharge)
Note, the specialty dining plan does not include Food Republic. This is a shame as it is one of our favorite restaurants onboard the ship. The plan also does not cover any dessert items purchased at Coco’s on Deck 6, or the Bake Shop and Dolce Gelato on Deck 8.
Why You Should Get a Norwegian Bliss Specialty Dining Package
On our Norwegian Bliss cruise, we had a five night specialty dining plan. With the 20% service charge, this plan totals $118.80, for a per meal costs of $23.76. So, when comparing plans and analyzing the benefits, we are going to use this value to determine if having the plan was a smart decision.
Of the 7 nights, we dined at 7 specialty restaurants. This included one stop at Food Republic, not covered on the plan, and another lunch at Margaritaville at Sea. At this restaurant, the cover charge is $14.95, plus the service charge. So, we decided to not use a specialty dining credit. While we are fans of this restaurant, the flat-fee charge on Norwegian Bliss is high. On other ships, the restaurant offers a la carte pricing.
To redeem our plan we used the package at Teppanyaki (flat charge of $29.95), Q Texas Smokehouse, Los Lobos, Cagney’s, and Le Bistro. Below are the price breakdowns of each of our meals, and the total costs, per restaurant and for the week. These are the costs we would have incurred if we paid the a la carte prices.
At none of the restaurants did we order to excess or order items just because we had a meal plan. Yes, we did indulge, but we were on vacation afterall, and that is part of the point.
Of course, the value of the plan does vary based on the restaurants at which you choose to dine during your trip.