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What are the best ways to save money on specialty dining on a cruise?

Explore money-saving tips for indulging in specialty dining aboard cruise ships.

By Cruise Booking Team

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Cruises are a delightful getaway, with specialty dining experiences being one of the highlights for many travelers. Cruise companies have enhanced onboard cuisine, from gourmet meals with magnificent ocean views to engaging culinary activities. However, partaking in specialty dining may sometimes be costly.

Best Ways to Save Money on Specialty Dining on a Cruise

1. Take Advantage of Cruise Promotions and Onboard Credit

Exciting promotions and special booking deals from cruise lines frequently attract travelers. These often feature specialty meal packages or onboard credit, allowing you to save money on your gastronomic excursions at sea. Keep an eye out for these specials throughout the year, especially during events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Wave Season (which usually runs from January to March).

Furthermore, if you're a frequent sailor, loyalty benefits may include savings on specialty meals. These can drastically cut your overall meal costs. To maximize your savings, always look for promotional deals and loyalty incentives before booking your trip.

2. Save With a Dining Package

Do you intend to dine at various specialty restaurants throughout your cruise? Consider pre-purchasing a dinner package. Many cruise lines offer these packages at reduced rates, with savings increasing as more dining days are selected.

Royal Caribbean, for example, has a discount program that includes packages for three, five, or even limitless specialty dining experiences. Opting for a package, you could save up to 50% off the standard cover charges for fine dining restaurants. Similar dining packages are available on Norwegian Cruise Line.

However, it is essential to remember that the most upscale dining experiences, such as Chef's Table or special brunches, may not be included in these packages. Before buying, consider how many specialized eating locations you plan to visit to see if a dining package is a good value.

3. Choose the Least Popular Day

A lesser-known way to save money on specialty dining is to make reservations on the least popular days. Typically, the first day on board, the last night, and port days are less crowded at specialty restaurants, especially when the ship has a later 'all aboard' time. You can see offered discounts in your cruise planner or even secure a deal by inquiring in person at the restaurant.

Going for lunch might also be a wise plan, as lunch costs are frequently lower than evening prices while providing the same high-quality cuisine and a relaxing dining ambiance.

4. Try for Casino Perks

If you love gambling while on your cruise, don't forget to look into the casino's rewards program. Generally, the more points you earn and the higher your tier or rank, the more rewards you'll receive. One of these bonuses could be free dinners at specialty restaurants. While it cannot be guaranteed, it is worthwhile to inquire about casino-related meal discounts and privileges. For those who enjoy a little gambling, this could be an excellent opportunity to experience specialty dining without spending extra money.

5. Leverage Discounts for Optimal Savings

Chef's Table events are frequently among the most expensive specialty dining alternatives, but they provide a one-of-a-kind culinary adventure. While certain circumstances may not be included in eating packages, you can save by taking advantage of discounts when available.

Also Read: Are cruises budget-friendly?


Cruise specialty dining promises extraordinary culinary encounters, and with the appropriate techniques, you may enjoy these experiences without going broke. There are numerous ways to save money while enjoying exquisite meals at sea, whether taking advantage of cruise promos, investing in dining packages, or using onboard amenities.

Tags: cruise lines

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