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Royal Caribbean, Carnival both make unpopular dining changes

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People don’t like change, especially if change doesn’t benefit them. For example, if a cruise line changed coffee brands, it would make some people angry and others happy. If it is decided that coffee – even the original black variety – now comes with a surcharge, everyone will be outraged.

One way to lessen the anger is to have more than one cruise line make the same change at the same time. If Carnival Cruise Line (ccl) – Get a free report and Royal Caribbean (rcl) – Get the report for free and make an identical change, neither company benefits.

One particularly egregious change could push people toward a land vacation, but if both major family-friendly cruise lines make similar policy changes, they’ll seem more legit and passengers might get less angry.

Recently, both cruise lines have made major dining room changes that affect a favorite of many cruise fans: lobster night in the main dining room.

Royal Caribbean, Carnival balances old, new traditions

Cruise lines are all about balancing tradition and ever-changing tastes. Spend time on a Carnival or Royal Caribbean ship and you’ll hear people say things aren’t the way they used to be. Some people hate that so many people stop making food, while others lament the loss of a menu item that few people remember.

Cruising has a bit of a ritual. Many things are as they were because they have always been. Royal Caribbean and Carnival have changed the formula and tried to cater to their classic audience and cruisers who want something different.

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That’s why “Formal Night” is now “Dress Your Best” on Royal Caribbean Cruises. This leaves more room for interpretation. Some people still treat the night as a formal night, while others dress up more than usual, and some simply opt for relaxation.

If you’re wearing a tuxedo or cocktail dress, wearing jeans, or even nice shorts doesn’t really affect how you feel, but some people don’t see it that way. They just don’t like change and want their experience to be like their memory rather than something new.

Royal Caribbean, Carnival are making a big change

Eating in the Main Dining Room (MDR) is a staple of cruising for many passengers. MDRs are usually several large rooms, maybe with different names, but they all serve the same menu, which changes every night. It’s a 90 minute to two hour affair with several courses and a bit of flair.

On longer voyages (6 nights or more), both cruise lines traditionally offer lobster night. On those cruises, Royal Caribbean and Carnival offer lobster (usually lobster tails) as an included option. This is a big deal because lobster is usually a premium item only offered in restaurants for an extra fee or with an extra charge at MDR.

The downside to this tradition is that neither cruise line limits passengers to one lobster per day. You can really order as much more as you want as long as you eat them. Royal Caribbean is testing a change to that policy, while Carnival has changed the rules.

“A charge of $16.99 plus an 18% tip is added to the guest’s bill for ordering a second lobster tail. Although not explicitly stated, it is likely that the surcharge also applies to a third, fourth, or any additional lobster tail. A single guest can order. The first lobster tail remains free,” CruiseHive writes of the lobster changes Royal Caribbean is testing on Symphony of the Seas.

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The cruise line is also testing a more limited MDR menu on that ship.

Carnival actually has a new MDR admission policy that will affect Lobster Night.

“We want you to enjoy your favorites and tasting offerings you haven’t tried before when you dine with us in the Main Dining Room, but we encourage you to follow the golden rule of dining: eat what you want.” Take what you have, but eat what you take. And remember, if something seems too tempting to pass up, you can always ask for half the portion. Guests can order a second complimentary entree if desired; However, with immediate effect, a US$5 (AU$7) fee will be charged for the third entry,” the company shared.

It’s still cheap for a spare lobster, especially since it comes with a second one.

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