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Clean Plate Club! I grew up with this phrase repeated to me nearly every night at the dinner table. I was also reminded of all the starving children in the world who would appreciate the food on my plate that I didn’t want to finish. Despite this and with the exception of a few times getting a second lobster tail in the Haven restaurant, I cannot remember one time when I desired to order a second entrée for dinner on a cruise, much less a third or fourth!
The reason I am mentioning this is that the cruise lines are beginning to charge additional fees for this “over indulgence” so it must be a more common thing than I would have ever imagined.
We learn, according to this article, this practice of an added fee began with Carnival Cruise lines back in November 2022 and was quickly followed by Royal Caribbean and now MSC seems to be joining in. The fee structure varies, but as best I have found it appears to be as follows:
- Carnival – free 2nd entrée with a surcharge of $5 for 3rd or more additional entrées
- Royal Caribbean – adds a surcharge of $16.99 plus gratuities for 2nd or more broiled lobster tails
- MSC – currently only reported on a single ship, MSC Seaside, a surcharge of $5 for 2nd or more entrées
The reasons for this practice seem to be centered around both cost and ship efficiency. In keeping the dining room “turning over” efficiently to accommodate both early and late seating times, having a guest remain in order to consume a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th entrée keeps that table occupied much longer than it would otherwise be with only 1 entrée served.
There is also the problem of food waste with additional dishes served to guests who perhaps ordered the additional items just because they could and then opted to not eat much if any of the additional entrée ordered. Costs are also an obvious motivation for this practice as well since we all know that our grocery budget has not gone down after the pandemic and the cruise lines are all trying desperately to recoup the debts incurred during the months long hiatus in cruising during the pandemic.
So while I get the creeping feeling that cruise lines are starting to nickel and dime us more and more, I still have to ask how anyone can eat that much food? Especially when in main dining you can order as many appetizers and desserts as you like! My wife almost never has dessert after dinner or if there is a dessert we really look forward to, we split one or order a smaller entrée to ensure we have room for it.
The idea of ordering 3 or 4 entrées at dinner, especially if you have a late seating time, nearly makes me ill. Even though I thoroughly enjoy all of the indulgences of cruise life, this is not something I can ever imagine myself doing. You? – René
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