Holland America Eurodam lamb chop entree

Cruise Line Tests Charging a Fee for Second Entrée

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According to a news article on Cruise Critic, Holland America is testing the addition of a $10 fee if you order a second entree in the Main Dining Room.

Holland America Eurodam lamb chops dinner entree
Would you pay $10 fee for a second entrée of these lamb chops?

If you’ve ever taken a cruise, I’m sure you’ve noticed that some people at your dining table order a second or even a third entree. It’s common to do that, especially if you simply want to taste something different on the menu. Or if you just eat a lot. On the down side, yes, I’ve seen plates nearly full being removed after dinner because someone ordered too much. The objective, says the cruise line, is to try to eliminate food waste.

Holland America explains why a fee for a second entree

“Over the years we have upgraded the menu, and we have experienced that guests occasionally order additional main courses they simply can’t finish,” a spokesperson for Holland America told Cruise Critic. “Holland America Line has made great efforts to reduce food waste and with this we can better determine if guests who order a second entree will truly enjoy it.”

Don’t despair if you want a second starter or dessert. There’s no extra charge for trying more than one of those smaller plates.

The cruise line has two test programs in progress. The first one involves the $10 surcharge only at Gala Night dinners. The second pilot program adds the fee for a second main course every night in the main dining room on the ships just mentioned.

Nieuw Amsterdam Main Dining Room
You’ll currently pay a $10 fee for a second entree in the Manhattan Dining Room aboard Eurodam.

Cruise ships with the $10 fee

The test program will continue through the end of March. At that time, Holland America will take a look at the results and make their decision.

The additional fee for a second entrée in the Main Dining Room is now on a handful of cruise ships. You’ll pay that $10 fee aboard Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Oosterdam and Zuiderdam.

So, what do you think of this a cost-saving, food waste-reducing fee? Would you pay $10 for a second entree? This also begs the question of what if you want to order an additional entree to share with your table…who pays the $10 fee?

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  1. Hi Kelley, it depends on the cruise line how much you’ll feel like you’re paying for every little detail. Upper-premium and luxury cruise lines and river cruises include just about everything. If you buy an all-inclusive package offered by the mainstream cruise lines, you won’t feel like it’s all nickel and dime for every little thing. Thanks for your comment.

  2. I’m just about done with cruising, to be honest. Nickel and dime, nickel and dime, nickel and dime. I’ve only cruised Carnival and was hoping other lines might be better but it seems like no.

  3. Just another Holland America LIE. Who possibly believes that the reason for the surcharge is to reduce food waste. There are hundreds of ways to reduce food waste on Cruise Ships. Charging in the main dining hall is FOR ONE REASON ONLY. To increase the amount of money going from the passengers pocket to the cruise ships pocket. Without passenger pushback on this, this policy WILL go to every night, and it WILL get to $25 a plate within a year!!!! And without pushback within 5 years it will be ALL MEALS in the main dining room for $25. This will become another profit center. When does all this nickel and dimeing of passengers stop?
    I have over 900 days of cruising. In all that time, I’ve probably requested a second entree 5 times. It’s not the money to me that’s upsetting here, it’s the false premise of “trying to save food.” Look at their track record on up charging everything over the last 10 years and you MUST know that this has NOTHING to do with saving food!!!!!

  4. Hi Guy,
    Thank you very much for your comment and taking the time to write. It is quirky that it’s “all you can eat” upstairs at Lido for the same entrees and apps offered in the Main Dining Room. I guess, like you mentioned, it’s a waste of food factor. While it can’t be controlled at Lido, the small-ish initial portions and fee for 2nd entree is their only way to keep food waste to a minimum. If someone “cleans” their plate, then a complimentary entree (maybe a slightly smaller portion?) should be available, IMO. I like your idea of a card at each table, though. I would love to be a fly on the wall to hear the comments of some cruisers. Maybe print it on the menu, too.
    Again, thank you for writing and reading Cruise Maven…it’s much appreciated.

  5. I’m a 3 star Mariner status. Meals and their presentation is primarily why I’m exclusive with HAL. It’s been good.

    But it doesn’t make sense to me to charge a $10 fee for 2nd and beyond entree plates in the main dining room for two reasons :
    1) similar entrees at the Lido are unlimited without a fee, so why take exception to the main dining room

    2) In many HAL main dining room meals, the entree portion size can be rather lite for a large eater. For example, Steak houses offer multiple size steaks to accommodate range of eaters . HAL entree portion sizes although not small, are not large either and are usually spot on for an average person or lighter eating ladies. I agree that approach avoids waste but a 2nd request for a big eater should be available and reasonable and not be looked upon as purely wasteful or classically abusive.

    But I do believe that untouched or hardly eaten additional entrees is poor behavior. And before charging guests more, try having a “Policy” card placed at each table requesting guests to please not waste and finish additional entrees. Otherwise please refrain from excessively ordering more entrees. Awareness and peer pressure goes a long way.

  6. Hi Pamela,
    Thank you for sharing that somewhat bizarre story. I wonder what ship it was that you were on that would do an olive/cheese tray? I always advise couple-cruisers never to sit at a table for four. You never know who’ll sit with you and more times than not, it’s awkward. Glad to know you have a Plan B and it’s working for you.

  7. We are currently deciding on a vacation/cruise. On one of our cruises we had a table for four so we were joined by another couple in the main dining. They were well seasoned travelers with a number of cruises. On the 2nd night he ordered a cheese and olive tray for the table and told the waiter to have one prepared each night. The tray was wonderful and over loaded. After that they never had dinner in the dining room (he would have that evenings dinner and several entrees served to a table in the buffet dining room). Each and every night we were delivered a huge tray that was more than enough for four people let alone two. It was embarrassing to set there with this huge mound at the table. It was clearly wasteful but he did it because he could. We no longer dine with others and usually choose open seating for two.

  8. Hi Joel,
    The responses to Holland America charging $10 for a second entree are amazing. And I agree…when one cruise line starts something, it usually catches on to the other cruise lines.
    About your being on the fence for the 14-day Holland America cruise, I wouldn’t rule it out because of the surcharge. I took the Eurodam last September on an Inside Passage cruise and it was excellent. But I totally understand about the fee being off-putting to you. Whatever you and your family decide to do, have a wonderful time in Alaska. It’s spectacular.

  9. We started cruising at the beginning of 2011. Since then a lot of things have changed in the cruise industry. I always hate to see these things get started because it seems like all the cruise lines will jump onboard (pun intended) with this type of thing. My oldest son will eat three or four lobsters. That could really jack the bill up. We never take more then we can eat. We have sent things away and gotten something else a couple of times.

    My biggest fear is that if this takes root it will start a cruise line trend to go into that direction. We usually are Royal Caribbean cruisers but we have sailed on a couple of other lines because they were going to places that interested us but at a price we liked. I have had my eye on a 14 day HAL cruise to Alaska but now we are rethinking that. I am not interested in supporting a company that seems to take away options from that consumers. Yes I am aware that other cruise lines do this same type of thing. They always try to justify their actions but in the end its putting lipstick on a pig.

  10. Hi José,
    Your solution is unique, for sure. There is so much food waste on ships. As many of us believe, more food waste happens at the buffet (and as I believe on other cruise lines, not HAL) than at the main dining room. I really don’t know the solution. It will be interesting to see what happens. On a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2018 with my adult daughter, she asked for a second (different) entree. The waiter said, “No” – she couldn’t order a second (different) entree until she had finished the first one. Looking back, that seems to be the start of a trend. Thanks for your comment.

  11. Hi Phil,
    This seems to be the overwhelming consensus. It remains to be seen if the $10 for a second entree becomes “official” across the fleet. Thanks for writing.

  12. Hi Mary,
    Very good points – and I agree about waste at the buffet. As I mentioned earlier to Pam, at least on Holland America they turn the serving handles backwards (at least on the first 2-3 days of the cruise) for hygienic reasons, and you don’t see heaping piles of food on peoples’ buffet plates. But I also think it’s a cost-cutting measure. Thank you for writing in your comment.

  13. I think it sucks. Cruising provides the opportunity to try out different dishes and to share with others at your table. I believe they waste a lot of food on the buffets and are just looking for a way to recoup the loss any way possible.

  14. Depending on the menu,we might order an extra dish for the table,but not every night.We would not pay $10 to share.

  15. I don’t like to pay $10 fee for another entree. I know that it’s a pity to waste the food and this is a difficult problem to solve. But thinking about that I believe that paying a little amount of money can be a good solution.
    Many people don’t mind to waste food and they order plates as if they hadn’t eat in years. However, thinking a little more deeply, there could be even a better solution that perhaps would solve both things at the same time, that is, not wasting food and either not paying an extra fee. How?, easy. Charging that extra fee -as a fine- only at people who don’t leave their plate as clean as Pam’s husband 🙂 . But I know that cruise lines wouldn’t be willing to do that.

  16. Hi Pam,
    I agree with you about the buffet on most cruise lines. In addition to Holland America turning the serving utensils backwards for hygienic reasons, I would think it also cuts back on those enormous portions. But about the $10 fee, if people don’t voice their complaints, the top brass won’t know.

    A 21-day cruise! Have a fabulous time. Thanks for your comment and reading the article.


  17. My husband, who is a big eater but weighs 160 pounds, is furious. He is thinking of writing a letter to HA, on which we have a 21 day cruise booked for next year. He always cleans his plate. We think it is just another way to nickel and dime the passengers. The food waste happens the most in the buffet.

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