Royal Caribbean’s controversial flexible-dining concept, Dynamic Dining, isn’t going anywhere, according to the cruise line’s President & CEO.
Speaking during a press conference aboard the firm’s latest vessel, Anthem of the Seas, Michael Bayley told reporters Dynamic Dining is “the future”, and was already proving very popular with younger, first-time cruisers.
The comments come just days after Bayley wrote to loyal Quantum-class passengers pledging free on board credit if they choose flexible dining aboard Anthem of the Seas. In the same e-mail, Bayley also admitted Dynamic Dining was “not perfect” and had “room to improve”.
At the recent press conference, Bayley said: “Dynamic Dining is a good idea, and everything has to change. This incredible choice and flexibility is the future. We are seeing new to cruise customers who love the idea, and this is the way cruising is changing.”
Royal Caribbean was set to roll Dynamic Dining across its fleet, but the move was halted in January after the concept received negative feedback from repeat passengers.
Under the new dining model, Royal Caribbean cruise ships will have no set dining times, as well as no formal nights. The move has sparked criticism from many Royal Caribbean fans, with Dynamic Dining becoming a hot topic on Cruise Critic’s community forum.
In a separate move, Royal Caribbean has announced changes to the cover charges at Jamie Oliver’s Italian Restaurant, from $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner to a la carte pricing. Given a full meal with drinks could now cost over $100 per passenger, the move has caused further backlash, angering many future passengers.
Brian Abel, Vice President Food & Beverage, confirmed that Royal Caribbean would honour passengers who pre-booked a meal whilst the restaurant still operated a cover charge, and that the new pricing structure was pushed by Jamie Oliver’s “team”.
At the press conference, Bayley confirmed Anthem’s homeport would be Bayonne, New Jersey. He also touched upon the vessel’s on board technology, stating the ship’s wireless bandwidth would be greater than the entire cruise industry.
Anthem of the Seas set sail on its maiden voyage on Wednesday 22nd April.
Images courtesy of Royal Caribbean Press Center.