Norwegian Cruise Line Dining Venue Becomes Complimentary

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It’s never been the most popular dining choice onboard the Norwegian Cruise Line ships and has often been empty. So, the choice to make the American Diner a complimentary offering instead of a for-fee dining experience is one that only makes sense.

This transition, which began in early January, is expected to be completed by mid-February across six NCL vessels. The new menu removes some of the more upscale options, such as Lobster Sliders, and aligns the available options with other complimentary dining options across the fleet.

Transition to A Complimentary Dining Experience

Starting January 2, 2024, Norwegian Cruise Line has started with the transition to complimentary lunch and dinner at the American Diner.

The transition will be taking place across the six Breakaway and Breakaway-Plus cruise ships that currently have the specialty dining option available, Norwegian Getaway was the first ship to be included in the transition for the January 2 cruise. Norwegian Escape will be next for its January 6 cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Bliss will transition on January 7, and the final ship to transition will be Norwegian Joy on February 13, 2024, as confirmed on the NCL website.

The American Diner, known for its classic Americana atmosphere reminiscent of a classic diner, has never really been the most popular option onboard the Norwegian Cruise Line ships. Menu options have been available in one variation or another across other dining options that are complimentary such as The Local and O’Sheehan’s.

Then again, the changes that NCL will be incorporating in the new menu for the American Diner are largely similar to the menu options at O’Sheehan’s and the Local. Spaghetti and meatballs at the American Diner, or Fettucine Carbonara at O’Sheehan’s. The Wrangler Burger, another staple at O’Sheehan’s will also be featured at the NCL dining venue.

Norwegian Cruise Line American Diner
Norwegian Cruise Line American Diner

The new menu does remove the popular lobster sliders. New starter options include a smoked fish dip, white bean chicken chili, cheese nachos, Caesar Salad and Grecian Salad,

Sandwich options will include a battered fish sandwich, pulled pork sliders, and a chicken salad sandwich. Comfort foods like chicken pot-pie casserole, Lechon Asado, and homemade meatloaf are also on offer.

For dessert, guests have the choice of bread pudding, carrot and walnut cake, and chocolate mousse. Not everything will be complimentary as milkshakes will have a $7 surcharge.

Positive Effect On Dining Traffic

The choice of Norwegian Cruise Line to make the American Diner complimentary will have a positive effect on the other complimentary dining options across the vessels, such as the Garden Cafe, the Main Dining Rooms, and O’Sheehans and Shanghai’s Noodle Bar. 

The welcoming atmosphere at the American Diner, with its checkered floors and classic booths, will certainly draw in more guests as a complimentary dining option than it ever did as a paid option.

Norwegian Joy Cruise Ship
Norwegian Joy Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock)

At a minimum, it will help relieve some of the pressure on those venues, with the Garden Cafe in particular known to be excessively busy during peak hours for lunch and dinner.

The question remains whether the American Diner will be opening up for complimentary breakfast as well, or even as a 24-hour dining option, although O’Sheehans has that covered already.

The American Diner is only available on the Breakaway and Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships, not on the new Prima-class cruise ships Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Epic, or any other cruise ships in the fleet.

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