Royal Caribbean has quietly increased prices at its Portside BBQ joint, an a-la-carte casual dining option available exclusively onboard Oasis of the Seas. According to guests reporting from menus onboard, prices have increased as much as 40% or higher depending on the menu item.
Portside BBQ Prices Increase Dramatically
Guests onboard Oasis of the Seas have spotted significant price increases at Portside BBQ, a specialty barbecue restaurant located – appropriately enough – on the ship’s port side on Deck 15. The menu offers combos of a variety of meats and complementary sides, as well as signature drinks and even desserts. All the prices have increased, however.
The “Signature Combo” is one of the restaurant’s most popular menu choices, and lets guests select from the available meats plus two sides and one dessert for a single price. Previously, that price was $12.49 (USD) for two cuts of meat, and $15.99 for three cuts.
Now, the same combo is listed as $16.99 and $21.99 for two and three cuts respectively, increases of 36% and 43% per order.
The price of the “Pitmaster Special” which includes a pitmaster favorite, two sides, and a dessert has increased even more dramatically, from $9.99 to $14.99 – a difference of 50%. Children’s “Lil’ Combo” prices have also increased by 50%, from $3.99 to $5.99.
Even single specialty items have increased. The restaurant’s desserts – a choice of a “Chocolate Brookie” or “Banana Dream” – have also increased from $2.79 to $3.99 (+43%), and the refreshing “Portside Spiked Palmer” drink has increased from $10 to $12.99 (+30%).
Single cuts of St. Louis-style spare ribs, Texas beef brisket, smoked turkey, sausage links, and other specialty meats have increased from $3.89 to $5.99 (+54%), while single side dishes – a choice of corn on the cob, mac & cheese, baked beans, cornbread, coleslaw, or fries – have increased from $2.99 to $3.99 (+33%).
In fact, the only items on the menu that have not had price increases are the classic Arnold Palmer drink that remains at $2.99, domestic beer that is still $7.49, and imported beer at $7.99.
Even the cost of water has increased from $3.25 to $3.99 (+23%), and soda is up from $3.50 to $3.99 (+14%) – the smallest increases on the menu.
While the dollar amount increases may not seem too significant, guests are noting the percentage increases as being quite steep for the casual dining venue. These prices have only come into effect within the past couple of sailings, but are likely to be permanent increases and not a test run for price changes.
Many guests question whether the new pricing is worthwhile, and whether or not it may be accompanied by changes in portion sizes or other quality concerns. At this time, there is no indication of any changes to the overall menu or serving sizes for Portside BBQ.
Royal Caribbean International guests who opt for one of the cruise line’s dining packages which include either a choice of three different venues or “unlimited” options, can save on the increased prices. Dining package prices vary per sailing depending on itinerary and cruise length, and are in addition to the cruise fare.
Other Dining Increases
Royal Caribbean is not the only cruise line increasing dining prices in recent months. Holland America Line is increasing prices at three popular specialty dining venues as of September 1, with prices changing from 12-40% (except for a caviar price, which is increasing by 60%).
MSC Cruises has also recently implemented a $5 fee for extra entrees in the main dining rooms, similar to charges already in place for Carnival Cruise Line as well as Royal Caribbean International.