Royal Caribbean's 'Unlimited Dining' Just Got A Lot More Limited

Cruise ships like Royal Caribbean and Holland America seem to be in an ever-escalating cold war to offer the most decadent experiences possible. The goal of any cruise is total relaxation, an all-inclusive experience where everything is taken care of for you, and when you run out of ideas for concerts and yoga classes that means things like free caviar platters. Even the most basic of cruise accompaniments, booze, is being given the glam treatment by one of the most family-friendly companies, with Disney offering a $5,000 Star Wars-themed cocktail on their ship, the Disney Wish.

Of course when you spend a lot of that time at sea stuck on a boat, you're going to do a lot of drinking, and you'll need some food to sop all that alcohol up. The old image of cruise eating is probably the buffet, with endless rows of steamed crab legs and chafing dishes of potatoes and chicken marsala, but modern cruises have evolved far beyond that, with fine-dining sit down restaurants, fresh sushi, and meals from Michelin-starred chefs

If that all seems like too much, you may be right because for once a cruise line, Royal Caribbean, appears to feel they have gone too far with their generosity and cut back on one of their most indulgent offerings.

Royal Caribbean restricts a la carte meals to one per day

In addition to their complimentary choices, Royal Caribbean Cruises have a host of specialty restaurants like the Asian-inspired Sichuan Red and a Jamie Oliver Italian spot, and a la carte options like Playmakers sports bar, where you pay by the item. The cruise line's dining options include an "Unlimited Dining Package," which up until recently allowed you to not only visit multiple specialty options for each meal, but gave you a $20 credit for a la carte eating spots as well. According to Royal Caribbean Blog, this meant you could close out your tab, open a new one, and keep enjoying complimentary meals. Very nice for sure, but even for a cruise that seems pretty over-the-top.

It seems Royal Caribbean agrees because, as The Street reports, they have now limited that a la carte credit to once per day. Royal Caribbean Blog speculates that this was done to cut down on crowding and abuse of the plan at bars where people could linger for hours. Don't worry about going hungry though, you can still get multiple entrees at each specialty restaurant for dinner — you just won't be able to subsist on free beer and endless plates of Buffalo wings all day, which seems like a decent compromise to us.