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Norwegian Cruise Line is clearly tinkering with its dining, announcing an all-inclusive open bar that includes free unlimited beer, wine and premium spirits on Norwegian Sky; complimentary dining in many of the Asian restaurants across the fleet; and an expanded room service menu with service charge of up to $7.95 per order on Getaway and Breakaway.
“Differentiation is a real issue with the shorter cruises,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief operating officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “We feel that having an open bar gives Norwegian Sky very clear differentiation, and it’s especially suited to the client base that chooses these cruises.”
Stuart believes the move will be positive financially the reaction from consumers and travel partners has been enthusiastic.
Norwegian also removed the fee from many of its Asian dining venues across the fleet. Stuart said the move was calculated to offer more within the cruise fare, attract more guests to these restaurants and increase the mix and flow of passengers.
The recently refurbished Norwegian Star was first to have the new pricing structure. According to Stuart, the number of passengers choosing to dine in its Ginza Asian Restaurant has more than doubled.
In addition, guests can enjoy the likes of steamed dumplings, fried rice, spicy seafood udon and more, all without charge in venues including Orchid Garden on Norwegian Gem; Lotus Garden on Norwegian Pearl; Chin Chin on Norwegian Jewel; Jasmine Garden on Norwegian Jade; Shanghai’s Noodle Bar on Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Getaway; East Meets West on Pride of America; Shogun on Norwegian Spirit; and Bamboo on Norwegian Dawn.
Norwegian’s teppanyaki restaurants will continue to provide guests with the bravura show that goes with Japanese iron-griddle cooking with a cover charge, and sushi venues across the fleet retain a la carte pricing.
Moving in a different direction, Norwegian has expanded its room service menu on Getaway and Breakaway, adding a service charge of up to $7.95 (except for continental breakfast).
“It’s important to get the balance right,” Stuart said. “Including the Asian restaurants impacts a great many people, whereas room service affects comparatively few. By including a fee, we can turn it into a great experience for them.”
Stuart doesn’t foresee a change in Norwegian’s entertainment, most of which is included in the cruise fare, with the exception of dinner and show experiences.