Cruise passenger have gotten used to paying surcharges for for special restaurants. But for the main dining room? No cruise line has gone there — until now.
Now Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is pushing the fee envelope by charging for the main dining room.
For now, the surcharge is only one dish: a 10-ounce steak. And the additional cost is $14.95. The steak was first reported to be “organic” but it is now called an “an all-natural strip steak” according to Royal Caribbean spokesman Harrison Lu. Supposedly, it is a trial to see if customers want “all natural” beef and that eventually the steak will be moved to the alternative dining room “Chops” that already carries a surcharge.
Yeah, right. And if Royal Caribbean determines that people will pay extra in the main dining room, I am sure they will go back not to charging for anything there as soon as the trial is done.
In addition to their specialty restaurants, most cruise lines already charge for sodas on board, specialty coffees and some extra goodies outside the main dining rooms. Princess Cruises, for example, has some “modestly priced items” in its International Cafe, and seafood appetizers for a “modest-per-item charge” in some of their wine bars. Along with a Nathan’s hot dog, Brooklyn Brewery Beer and slice of cheesecake for sale from room service on the Crown Princess.
But meals in the main dining rooms have remained one of the last vestiges of all-inclusive dining on cruise ships. Along with the idea that you can order anything from hamburger to lobster and not worry about the price.
If this Royal Caribbean “trial” works out, what’s next? A lobster surcharge? A second dessert surcharge? Hey, if the airlines can get people to pay $6 for a box of little salty snacks, I think the sky, or rather the sea, is the limit.