The following prices are subject to change. Specialty dining reservations can be made up to 90 days prior to sailing:
1. Cupcake Cupboard - $2.50 per cupcake
2. Chops Grille - closed for B and L; D $25 cover charge
3. 150 Central Park - closed for B and L; D $35 cover charge
4. Giovanni's Table - closed for B; L $10 cover, D $15 cover charge
5. Vintages - closed for B; L and D a la carte pricing
6. Johnny Rockets - L and D $4.95 cover charge
7. Seafood Shack - closed for B; L & D $8.95 cover for adults, free for kids 12 and under
8. Ice Cream Parlor - a la carte pricing
9. Solarium Bistro - D $20 cover charge
10.Izumi Asian Cuisine - closed for B and L; D a la carte pricing
11.Chef's Table - closed for B and L; D $75 per person including wines
12.Room Service - $3.95 per stateroom between midnight and 5 or 6am
I agree. One of the attractions of cruising, I think, is the semi all-inclusive nature in days of old, where the only extra costs were drinks, tips and shore excursions. Now folks have to either budget a lot of extra money, or just decide not to take advantage of the pay venues. Cruise lines are hoping for the former, despite the high prices just to be onboard a new ship like Oasis. I know the rationale behind some of the extra cost venues is crowd control, and to control waste (one bite out of cupcakes, etc) but I think all the extra costs cut down somewhat on the advantages of cruising over a land based vacation. Makes folks want to take a second look at the more upscale cruise lines that actually ARE all-inclusive.
We noticed a restaurant on Monarch of the Seas with a regular restaurant menu and a la carte pricing, just like in a land based restaurant.
Sandy, you and Dave are spot on. This is getting out of control, in my opinion. On Princess, they have 2 extra fee dining options, then they have the International Cafe (on some ships) with some free and some charge items. On Costa, I didn't see any extra charge venues, but there could have been. Carnival doesn't have many extra charge venues. I haven't been on HAL in a while, so I'm not sure. Celebrity has a few, NCL has a lot. I know they're trying for extra revenue, but it is so expensive to even sail on a new ship. If they're having trouble filling the Oasis, they need to take a closer look at why.
I still love cruising, and still think it is a great value. However, if you're not close to a port, then you have to add in air fare and hotel plus baggage fees. It starts to add up very quickly. If you want to take a couple of excursions, then that's extra, too. Seaborn's prices are beginning to look really good.
It's always a trade-off. It used to be that cruising was "simpler." Everything was taken care of by the time you boarded. You didn't have to worry about where to eat dinner or make reservations for it, you knew pretty much how much extra you'd be paying for drinks, tips and shore excursions, and just needed to decide how much of a donation to make at the casino and onboard shops.
Some people found this too restricting, and open seating was born, along with MyTime/AsYouWish/Freestyle/etc dining. Now you had to decide where to eat and make reservations to avoid a long wait. As she ships got bigger with more flexibility and more choices, a price came along with it, both figuratively and literally.
When we were on the Monarch of the Seas last week, we discovered that the "MyTime Dining" required a reservation each night, at whatever time you *thought* you'd want to eat. Without a reservation, they couldn't guarantee a table would be available when you showed up at the dining room. Not quite as flexible as I thought, in the dining room.