Celebrity Cruises to Raise Alternative Restaurant Surcharges Again

August 8, 2011

(5:45 p.m. EDT) -- The at-sea price-per-swallow index has increased again. Effective September 1, Celebrity Cruises is raising the fees for several specialty restaurants by roughly 15 to 33 percent, depending on venue.

Member boogs first reported on the impending surcharge hikes, Celebrity's second such increase in the past 20 months, on the Cruise Critic message boards.

Here's the new deal for dining:

The price at Murano, the French-Continental venue found on the line's four Solstice-class ships (Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Silhouette) and Celebrity Century, will increase from $35 to $40 per person. The same price hike will go into effect at the French-Continental sister restaurants on the line's Millennium-class quartet. These classic ocean liner-themed restaurants include Celebrity Constellation's Ocean Liners, Celebrity Millennium's RMS Olympic, Celebrity Summit's Normandie and Celebrity Infinity's SS United States.

The surcharge for dining in Qsine, the whimsical venue featuring iPad menus and a focus on presentation (think spring rolls served in actual springs), will also increase from $35 to $40 per passenger. Qsine is found on Celebrity Eclipse and Celebrity Silhouette; during upcoming dry-docks, it'll be added to Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Summit and Celebrity Millennium.

The cover charge for dining in the Lawn Club Grill, which debuted in July on the new Celebrity Silhouette, will increase from $30 to $40 per person. The new concept merges cooking lessons with a churrascaria and a pizzeria. (Here's what that sort of combination looks like.)

Passengers making dining reservations before September 1 will pay the current rates. Surcharges will remain the same for the line's other specialty venues, including Tuscan Grille (Italian steakhouse), Silk Harvest (Asian) and Bistro on 5 (creperia). The fees for Tuscan Grille, Murano and Silk Harvest were all raised in 2010.

So why the hikes? Spokeswoman Elizabeth Jakeway told us world food prices, which have been rising for some time, certainly played a role. And Celebrity isn't the only line increasing dining fees. Sister cruise line Royal Caribbean recently rolled out its own price hikes, upping the charges at its signature steakhouse by $5 and adopting a new "surcharge plus a la carte" price model for a pair of casual venues. NCL recently adopted a late-night room service charge of $3.95 for orders placed between midnight and 5 a.m.

--by Dan Askin, News Editor