Specialty Restaurants

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 08:47 PM.
#1
Rochester, NY
141 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We are first time cruisers on the Riveria in March. We are traveling concierge class, A3. This cruise is 14 night Southern Caribbean and I have already made a dinner reservation in each of the four specialty restaurants. Given my rookie status and cabin class how easy if at all will it be to get any extra nights in the specialty restaurants?
#2
GTA, Ontario, Canada
33,661 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
It depends on how flexible you are as to times/dates & restaurants
Check with the Restaurant reservation desk (deck 5) in the mornings to see if there are spots available for that night, ask to be put on a list if someone should happen to cancel
It all depends on luck

see you on board
Come join the Roll Call
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1530639

Lyn
#3
West Palm Beach, FL
12,806 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
And keep an open mind about dinner in the GDR and The Terrace. You'll be pleasantly surprised. You're not necessarily missing out even if you only are able to dine in the specialty restaurants the 4 nights you have reserved.

We were new to Riviera, too, and I thought I'd be by Reservations every day to try to get more time in the specialty restaurants. But as much as we enjoyed them, we equally enjoyed our dinners both in the GDR and The Terrace (which was especially perfect for us the first and last nights of the cruise.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
__________________________________
Heather
Every day on the sea is a good day
Review of February 2017 Cruise on Oceania Marina:
http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=568141
All Other Cruise Critic Ship Reviews:
http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/user/?userid=70155
#4
San Francisco Bay Area
8,319 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Originally posted by sabrefan
We are first time cruisers on the Riveria in March. We are traveling concierge class, A3. This cruise is 14 night Southern Caribbean and I have already made a dinner reservation in each of the four specialty restaurants. Given my rookie status and cabin class how easy if at all will it be to get any extra nights in the specialty restaurants?
First night of the cruise is almost always available - most people don't book it.
Try all restaurants on first night, starting with your first choice and go down the line , if needed. Just go to where the reservations are being made after embarkation and ask what is available for that night.
I am 99.9% sure you'll get into one of them.
On the current cruise we had staff ask us not once but twice (during lunch in the cafe) if we wanted to dine in Polo/Toscana on the Regatta as they were wide open. These were long port days and people must have been tired and didn't want to book on those days. We never have any trouble scoring almost as many extra reservations as we want.
We really like the Terrace Cafe on the Marina/Riviera.
Enjoy!
#5
Brooklyn, New York USA
7,129 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Some of us have actually preferred the GDR and Terrace in the past! I know, we're crazy.

Now, on the "O" ships we do like Jacques very much, although we personally weren't that impressed with Red Ginger and only went once. I'm willing to give it another go, however. Perhaps we ordered wrong.

Also, with fewer choices on the "R" ships it's understandable that if you aren't passionate about Polo or Toscana then the GDR is a good option.

I'm not suggesting you go by my choices, you understand, because I know people who won't set foot in the GDR ... but we've pretty much preferred it to the specialty restaurants just because the menu changes daily in the GDR whereas it is a set menu in the specialty restaurants. It depends on what you want to eat.

But most people who want extra reservations don't have a problem getting them -- it does depend on how many people are like us and often don't use all the reservations we could, or how many will only go into the specialty restaurants.

As Lyn says, if you can be flexible with your times you have a very good chance.

Mura
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Send Mura a message:



#6
Washington State
526 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
So far unmentioned is the willingness to share a table. The 2 tops tend to go first on most cruises. We have never had "bad" table companions although some have been better than others .

Also, we have twice scored a table by showing up near opening time and checking with the host to see if there were any last minute cancellations. If not, head for the bar or the GDR. It doesn't cost anything to ask.

Robbie
#7
Brooklyn, New York USA
7,129 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
On our Marina cruise in Oct 2011 we were three couples who wanted to have dinner in Jacques but I wasn't able to give our butler the other cabin numbers so they couldn't book it. Therefore, we all went down to the GDR for dinner.

When we asked for a table for six they asked if we wanted to go to Jacques!

Granted, this happened on the first night of the cruise ... the restaurant wasn't very full that night, but it was extremely booked the two other times we went to Jacques on that cruise.

Mura
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Send Mura a message:



#8
Pittsburgh, PA
1,844 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
We were on the Riviera in October/November for ten days, and were not able to repeat in any of the specialty restaurants except for the last night when we were already in our disembarkation port. Perhaps on a 14-day cruise you will have better luck, and we did well ourselves on a 14-day cruise on an R ship (we ate in the specialty restaurants 7 nights out of 14 that time), but this time there was literally no extra time available other than the very last night. We were very flexible time-wise, but there was nothing at all.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Ben and Susan


Previous cruises:
Oceania REGATTA - Scenic Panama Canal - Dec. 5 - Dec. 21, 2014
Uniworld RIVER AMBASSADOR - European Splendors, June, 2013
Disney DREAM - 4-Day Bahamas - January, 2013
Oceania RIVIERA - Accent on Italy - Oct. 24 - Nov. 3, 2012
MV ECLIPSE - 7 days in the Galapagos - June, 2012
HAL STATENDAM - 7 day Glacier excursion - June, 2010
Disney WONDER - 3-night Bahamas - Dec. 27-30, 2009
Oceania REGATTA - Scandinavian Splendors - Aug 8-22, 2009
Carnival FANTASY - 3-day 1990 or '91
USS HANCOCK (CVA-19) Two WestPac cruises 1969-71 Oops those weren't pleasure cruises!
#9
Brooklyn, New York USA
7,129 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
We have to remember that there is a parameter that we don't know about until we board, and that is how many of the passengers on board really want to dine in the specialty restaurants as much as possible. If you're on a cruise where there are lots of passengers like us -- who don't care that much about eating there every single night -- you're going to have better luck.

There have been cruises on the "R" ships where we didn't go to Polo or Toscana even once, and our usual practice is to only eat there once.

But you just cannot predict beforehand how many people are going to be contending for those tables.

Mura
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Send Mura a message:



#10
South West UK
986 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
I might be wrong - my wife asserts I usually am - but I've never been too impressed with any speciality restaurant. The food they offer is just a different choice from the MDR in different surroundings. And most buffets offer an excellent choice in the evenings without all the fuss surrounding the "restaurant" experience. Certainly on Oceania.

Only the Olympic Grill on Celebrity Millennium stands out in my mind. And hers. Waiters in full evening dress producing flambé dishes at your table. Wonderful.

So don't worry about being unable to make reservations in them. You won't starve and you might be pleasantly surprised if you have to "slum it" in the buffet.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Future cruises booked:

Regent Mariner 27 October 2017. Montreal to Miami.
Queen Mary 2 10 January 2018 Southampton to Cape Town.
Scenic Aura 25 March 2018 Mandalay to Yangon.
MS Mendula 2 September 2018 Croatian Islands.
Queen Mary 2 10 January 2019 Southampton to Dubai.
#11
Sacramento, CA
1,068 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Originally posted by Balloon Man
you might be pleasantly surprised if you have to "slum it" in the buffet.
Wait until you see what the "buffet" is like

It is absolutely, positively NOT slumming it.

The Terrace Grill (buffet) is our first choice!!

Enjoy!!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Upcoming Oceania Cruise: December 2017 Barcelona-to Miami

Prior Cruises:
Oceania Marina Papeete to NY. April 4 to May 7, 2015 33 days
Oceania Marina Transatlantic: Lisbon to Rio
Nov 4-20, 2014 16 Days
Oceania Marina Transatlantic: Barcelona to Rio - Nov 20 - December 8, 2013 18 Days
Oceania Marina Transatlantic: NY to London - May 26 - June 11, 2013 16 Days
Oceania Marina Transatlantic: Rome to Rio - November 22 - December 10, 2012 18 Days
Oceania Marina Transatlantic: Miami to Barcelona - March 19-April 2, 2012
(yes, we like TA's )
Norwegian Sun - 9 Night Copenhagen - June 13 - June 22 2011
Norwegian Sun - Back to Back Caribbean - December 4,2010 - December 18, 2010
Norwegian Sun - 12 Night San Francisco - Mexican Riviera 10/12/09 - 10/23/09
Holland MS Noordam New York Caribbean - 11/25/06 - 12/6/06
RCL Brilliance of the Seas Miami - Circle the Caribbean - 2/3/06 - 2/13/06
RCL Monarch of the Seas 10/17/03 - 10/20/03
NCL Skyward - Ft Lauderdale Caribbean - January 1986
plus a Carnival and another from the 90's
#12
Brooklyn, New York USA
7,129 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by traveler916
Wait until you see what the "buffet" is like

It is absolutely, positively NOT slumming it. The Terrace Grill (buffet) is our first choice!! Enjoy!!

I DO have to agree as far as the "O" ships are concerned. The Terrace on the new "big" ships is entirely different from the "R" ships (which has improved greatly as well based upon our August 2012 cruise on Regatta).

Lots of people prefer it to any of the restaurants ... and you can pretty much get anything you want.

Slumming, it is NOT. Usually we only had dinner in the Terrace (on the "R" ships) if we were just zonked out from an all day tour. But on Marina we often preferred to go there.

Mura
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Send Mura a message:



#13
Palm Springs, Ca
1,886 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
True, The Terrace Buffet isn't slumming. However a Specialty Restaurant is a Specialty Restaurant---I prefer the service and the setting. That doesn't mean I never go to the Terrace Buffet when the time is right, but it's not my first choice for dinner it is what it is.
#14
Brooklyn, New York USA
7,129 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
And you aren't alone in feeling that way! But for us, on the "R" ships we were never that interested in Toscana or Polo.

On the "O" ships we loved Jacques (based on one cruise in Oct '11), liked Red Ginger but didn't love it, and had our usual neutral reaction to Polo and Toscana.

When we return to Marina in November we'll have to see if we still feel the same.

I used to avoid "Tapas on the Terrace" on the "R" ships -- didn't object but didn't really like it. It was a fine substitute if we were tired and didn't want to change clothes for the GDR. But on Marina we really looked forward to it, just because of the additional food choices.

To each his own!

And when on the O ships, then La Reserve is a special treat if you love good food and wine...

We are people who have always appreciated the GDR, and we know that many people don't ... that puzzles us. Even on the big ships we had some lovely meals there.

Again, to each his own!

Mura
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Send Mura a message:



#15
San Francisco Bay Area
8,319 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
Originally posted by Balloon Man
I might be wrong - my wife asserts I usually am - but I've never been too impressed with any speciality restaurant. The food they offer is just a different choice from the MDR in different surroundings.
Your wife is correct and you are wrong (again)
The steaks that are offered in Polo are VERY different from those offered in the MDR; ditto for prime rib, lobster ,etc etc
When is the last time you had the duck and water melon salad followed by Miso bass in the MDR; or real foie gras terrine? The list goes on and on.
If, however, to you a steak is a steak, then you are correct.
#16
CA, USA
13,668 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Personally, I had one other big problem with the GDR on Marina. It felt more like a glitzy catering hall to me than a restaurant (unlike the GDR on the R ships.) I understand they needed to make it big enough to accommodate 1250 passengers with open seating but still I did not enjoy the venue at all. Also the food was nowhere as good as the Terrace Cafe at night, let alone the specialty restaurants. jmo.
#17
NYC
13 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by sabrefan
We are first time cruisers on the Riveria in March. We are traveling concierge class, A3. This cruise is 14 night Southern Caribbean and I have already made a dinner reservation in each of the four specialty restaurants. Given my rookie status and cabin class how easy if at all will it be to get any extra nights in the specialty restaurants?
My husband and I were also first time cruisers on the Riviera this winter, on the Mayan Mystique cruise in January. It was wonderful and we both just loved the ship. We also were in concierge class, and we were NOT able to get extra nights in either of the two specialty restaurants we wanted -- Red Ginger (omg it was so good...) or Jacques. We didn't try for Polo or Toscana because they weren't our favorites. If we had been willing to eat at 9:00 or 9:30 we might have been successful, but that's too late for us. I think the suggestion of trying on the first night is a good one. And I also completely agree with the people who are advising that the GDR and the buffet are both terrific!

I have another reservation question for any Oceania travellers who might know the answer: When you book the specialty restaurants online as soon as you're allowed to for your cabin class, can you add another couple to your table who are not yet eligible to book for themselves?

Thanks.

Nancy
#18
Brooklyn, New York USA
7,129 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Nancy,

You CAN add on your friends but not until they are eligible to sign on for themselves.

For us this has worked out that we (in a suite) could sign up at whatever the permitted time is (90 days?) but our companions who were in a lower suite had to wait until 60 days. Then we could add them to our reservation, but not before.

Now, if you are both in the same category cabin, then you can add them to your reservation at the same time. You will need your friends' reservation number.

One thing I keep on saying ... is that ... you never know from cruise to cruise what the demand will be for the specialty restaurants. I suspect that demand is higher on Marina/Riviera than it is on the "R" ships, but there are also two more restaurants available. Not all passengers are insistent on getting into the specialty restaurants. But it does depend on the passengers who are on YOUR cruise. If everyone is vying for those limited tables, it can be more difficult.

You should hope that we will be on your cruise because we are not all that insistent on the specialty restaurants ... unless it is Jacques!

Mura

Mura
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Send Mura a message:



#19
Houston
296 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Although the food in the MDR is fantastic, I always wanted to go to specialty restaurants to be able to try other choices on their menus. I could go to each restaurant multiple times and try something different each time.

Mura,
We felt the food in Red Ginger was good, but the noise in Red Ginger during the inaugural season of the Marina was too excessive to enjoy the experience.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature




#20
Brooklyn, New York USA
7,129 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Gtragitt,

Although I don't recall being bothered by noise, it wasn't that we thought the food was bad. It WAS good, and I appreciated the chef's "hottening up" my main course upon request. We just were disappointed because we'd expected to like it a lot more than we did.

Maybe the problem is more that we are "into" Szechuan rather than Asian fusion.

Mura
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Send Mura a message: