How To Book Reservations For Onboard Specialty Restaurants

What Are Specialty Restaurants?

Specialty dining on cruise ships are exclusive restaurants offering a more upscale and unique dining experience compared to the main dining rooms and buffets. These smaller, intimate venues focus on specific cuisines like Italian, French, or seafood, curated by skilled chefs using high-quality ingredients. Passengers can enjoy enhanced service, a distinct ambiance, and a more personalized atmosphere, often requiring reservations in advance. Unlike the inclusive amenities on a cruise, specialty dining is an extra charge, with some cruise lines offering package options. The exclusivity of specialty restaurants appeals to those seeking a refined and indulgent dining experience, making it ideal for special occasions or simply treating oneself during the voyage. 

Here are five cruise lines that offer specialty dining and how you can book reservations for their restaurants.

Norwegian Cruise Line

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You can purchase a Specialty Dining Package online or through Norwegian Reservations. Guests can buy them during the first two days of their cruise by calling or visiting any Restaurant Reservations Desk. The package is available for three- and four-day cruises on the first day. The package requires a minimum of 2 meals, not exceeding the cruise length. Traveling companions who don’t want a dining package are not required to purchase the package.

The Specialty Dining Package (SDP) is honored at specific onboard restaurants, and you can make reservations online, through the Norwegian Reservations service, or onboard. Guests can make reservations for their whole party, even if some are not participating, but charges will apply for those without a package. Sharing an SDP meal or getting food to go is not allowed. The restaurant staff will verify your package using the SDP code on your cabin keycard. Gratuity and a specialty service charge of 20 percent are added to the package price, and while most menu items are included, some exclusions apply. Alcoholic beverages are not part of the Specialty Dining Package but are available through other beverage packages. Head to their website before sailing for more information! 

MSC Cruises 

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Guests aboard MSC Meraviglia have several enticing dining options to enhance their cruise experience. They can opt for the Dinner & Show package, offering an exclusive table d’hôte menu and an unforgettable performance of Cirque du Soleil at Sea in the Carousel Lounge. Additionally, a delightful Eataly Chef’s Table package is available, providing a dedicated chef and sommelier for the night, seven gourmet dishes paired perfectly with seven wines.

For those seeking to explore a variety of specialty restaurants, pre-booking special discounted packages is an excellent choice before the cruise. To make dining reservations on an MSC cruise, follow these simple steps: 

  • Visit the MSC website and log in to your account. 
  • Once logged in, navigate to the “My Bookings” tab and click “Dining” to view all available dining options for the voyage. 
  • Select your preferred restaurant and click the “Book Now” button to secure a table. 
  • Then, choose your reservation’s date, time, and number of guests. 
  • Review the details carefully before confirming, as changes are impossible once the reservation is confirmed. 

You’re ready to embark on a delectable culinary journey during your MSC cruise. For more information, visit MSC Cruises’ website. Bon appétit!

Celebrity Cruises

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Guests can indulge in various specialty restaurants while enjoying significant savings through the cruise line’s Specialty Dining Packages. Options like the world-class Murano, the bold flavors of Tuscan Grille, or the interactive grilling experience at the Lawn Club Grill are sure to keep guests satisfied. An exciting addition to Celebrity Cruises’ offerings is Le Voyage, a new restaurant crafted by chef Daniel Boulud (the available restaurants may vary depending on the ship).

Select your dining party and preferred dining time to book your Specialty Dining Package. Guests who purchase this package can expect a courtesy dinner reservation for their first night at sea. If you wish to change your reservation or complete additional dinner reservations, simply visit one of the onboard Specialty Restaurant Reservation Desks during your cruise. It’s recommended to book your Specialty Dining Packages at least two days before boarding. However, note that specialty dining packages and restaurant reservations are subject to availability and may not be offered on every voyage. Celebrity Cruises will try to accommodate your preferences, but remember that all packages are per person, subject to availability, and non-transferable. Additionally, a 20 percent gratuity will be added to the Specialty Dining packages at the time of purchase.

Note: Guests dining at Sushi on Five will receive a maximum credit of $35, while those dining at Raw on Five will receive a full credit of $40 toward food items. Please note that this credit is non-redeemable for cash, and other items such as beverages, supplements, food, wine pairings, and gratuities are not included. It’s important to know that reservations are subject to change based on ship availability and sail date, and canceled packages will incur total cover charges. Visit Celebrity Cruises’ website for additional information.

Holland America Line

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Holland America Line provides several specialty dining options to explore. The most convenient method is through Holland America’s website. 

  • Log in to your My Account, access the “Manage My Booking” section, and look for the “Dining Reservations” or “Specialty Dining” option to view available restaurants and make reservations online. 
  • Alternatively, once onboard the ship, you can visit the Specialty Dining venue or head to the Dining Reservations Desk to book a table for your preferred restaurant and time. 
  • If you have the Holland America Line Navigator App, check if it allows specialty dining reservations. 
  • Travel agents who assisted with your booking may also be able to help with dining reservations. 
  • Finally, you can call Holland America’s reservation line to speak with a representative directly.

For the best dining experience, it’s advisable to make specialty dining reservations in advance, particularly for specific restaurants or dining times, as popular venues may fill up quickly, especially during peak cruise seasons. Early booking ensures you secure the desired dining options for your Holland America cruise and may allow you to take advantage of any special dining packages or promotions offered onboard. You can also visit Holland America Line’s website for more information on the dining experience.

Princess Cruises

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Dine My Way on Princess Cruises’ MadallionClass app offers a personalized cruise dining experience, allowing you to tailor your daily dining time. You can choose between the main dining room, included in the cruise fare, or specialty restaurants with a small cover charge, making reservations based on your preferences. Whether you prefer a consistent dinner time every night or want to adjust it according to your schedule, Dine My Way allows you to dine on your terms. Once you board the ship, you can take full advantage of OceanNow. This service enables you to order food and drinks for delivery wherever you are, reducing waiting times and allowing you to savor your meals in your preferred setting. However, please be aware that reservation times are subject to the venue’s capacity and availability.

Customizing your dining options and reservations is made accessible for most guests after the cruise is paid in full. For early access to these features, Captain’s Circle Platinum and Elite members and guests booked in Reserve Collection and Suites can take advantage of this privilege. To get started, download the MedallionClass app on your smart device. To better understand your dining options, visit Princess Cruises’ website for more information.

Specialty dining is a fantastic experience for guests wanting an elevated culinary adventure. Specialty dining takes the traditional dining experience to another level, offering unique cuisine, impeccable service, and an intimate atmosphere. If you want to add extra flair to your next vacation or night out, explore the many specialty dining options available!

By Ethan Leckie