What the Loss of Royal Caribbean International’s Dynamic Dining Means
Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International
Following the lead of Norwegian Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International originally introduced Dynamic Dining aboard its Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, but variations of the program didn’t take off. Now by Nov. 27, 2016 it will be completely abandoned on Anthem, and Quantum has already altered its dining for the Chinese market.
Initially, Dynamic Dining offered four distinct complimentary main dining rooms, each with their own themes and cuisines, for which guests could make separate reservations a la Norwegian specialty restaurants, and later it evolved into a rotational dining system not unlike Disney. Then, table mates and wait staff would cycle through the restaurants with a different one featured each night but at a set time.
Unfortunately, neither version was popular among Royal Caribbean passengers, thus prompting the line to ditch them. In their place will be two options: My Time Dining familiar to the rest of the fleet and traditional seating. The former will allow guests to select their own time between 6:00 and 9:30 p.m., and the latter will conform to set times of either 6:30 or 8:30 p.m. To accommodate, Chic, Silk (pictured above), Grande and American Icon will retain their aesthetics but serve a matching menu, which will change daily. At least by serving the same courses, no one restaurant will fill up more quickly due to the popularity of its specific cuisine.
What’s interesting is that My Time Dining is not entirely dissimilar to the original Dynamic Dining concept save for the restaurants now presenting the same menu. The biggest change is its conjunction with the traditional option as well. Royal Caribbean is essentially providing the best of both worlds, but it is a bit dismaying that the cuisine in each restaurant will no longer regularly match the decor. It’s now more like Princess Cruises’ split main dining rooms, but at least those display a more homogeneous decor to go with any menu.
The takeaway is that people don’t mind needing to make reservations for individual specialty restaurants that cost extra, but when it comes to the complimentary main dining room experience, traditional approaches still most resonate. Disney, of course, has always had its rotational dining as a brand hallmark that seems to go over very well with families seeking dining diversity at consistent times, but alas it does not seem to be favorable on other companies.
Royal Caribbean was bold to try a new approach, but now it is stuck with hardware set for a program that will no longer be implemented. Most likely as future Quantum-class ships come out, they will change up the main dining rooms to be more flexible accordingly. But then again maybe not because the new Harmony of the Seas features unique restaurant themes despite serving the same menu as well. It’s actually very possible we have not yet seen the final iteration of Royal Caribbean’s dining, and surely culinary programs will continue to evolve industry-wide to attract newcomers while appeasing loyalists as well.
More by Jason Leppert
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