(6:00 a.m EST) — Norwegian Cruise Line has confirmed that Norwegian Escape’s Margaritaville at Sea — a previously complimentary dining venue in partnership with musician Jimmy Buffett — will now operate as a speciality a la carte restaurant, a month after opening.
Margaritaville at Sea has proved a huge hit from the moment the ship debuted in Southampton, U.K. on October 27.
By the time the ship officially launched in Miami on November 9 we reported waiting times of more than an hour — prompting President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Frank del Rio to hint that a fee would be introduced.
In a press conference onboard Norwegian Escape on November 10, Del Rio said: “for business and crowd-control reasons [introducing a la carte pricing is] always a possibility”.
Vanessa Picariello, Sr. Director, Public Relations at Norwegian Cruise Line confirmed: “The first Margaritaville at Sea aboard Norwegian Escape has proven to be extremely popular. We have listened to our guests’ feedback regarding the overwhelming demand and, in an effort to deliver the highest quality experience, we will be implementing a la carte pricing at the restaurant as of the ship’s November 28 sailing”.
The possibility of a charge first came to light on the Cruise Critic Message Boards when TracyE stated that “while this venue was free on the TA [transatlantic], beginning November 14th, there will be a la carte pricing”.
In a subsequent thread, the decision to charge has angered many members, including Lily815 who complained that “they are changing the rules… again. It is beyond frustrating” and MalervyC who stated that “[Margaritaville at Sea] was a big draw for us to book this cruise”.
Sample prices from the menu (pictured below) include burger and fries at $9.98 and fish tacos at $6.99, excluding an 18% gratuity.
Buffett dining: A sample a la carte menu from Norwegian Escape’s Margaritaville at Sea.