"Free Style" cruising

Old Nov 6th, 2006, 06:07 AM
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"Free Style" cruising

My wife and I are planning our first NCL cruise and would like any feed back regarding the "Free Style" system.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 06:17 AM
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Free Style Cruising is being copied in other formats by Princess.. What it means really is there are no set seatings.. Not having to show up at 6:15 or 8:30 for supper.. If your out for the day you have until just before 10:00 p.m. to go down to the dining room to have supper.. In other words, it dining at your convenience.. The only problem is that in many instances while at sea most people want to eat at 7:00 p.m. After cruising Celebrity last year that was the only thing we missed..free style cruising..
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 07:24 AM
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Not sure what type of "feedback" you are looking for???

I have done Freestyle on NCL and ended up booking the specialty restaurants most nights and dining at the sushi bar on the others. I do not care for it.

There are a choice of dining venues, varies by ship, and some need reservations and have a charge and some are inlcuded. I was not wowed by the food except at Le Bistro which I happily paid extra for.

Otherwise, Freestyle applies to attire as well.

I think one either loves it or not, and I am in the "not" category.

Princess offers both, by the way, but tradtional is almost always waitlisted which I find interesting.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 08:33 AM
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We loved the "freestyle" dining on NCL. Princess tries to do a similar plan with open seating, but we found that we still had to show up at the typical assigned dining times so I didn't think it was a flexible.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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I always liked being seated with the same people every night for dinner , as long as they are nice. It is wonderful to network , share and just meet others. With anytime you don't get to share or really get to know your fellow diners.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 10:20 AM
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The first night, everyone wants to eat at the same time and has not figured out how to handle the system - lots of people waiting, in ill humor because of the little annoyances of travel.

If you want to eat at main restaurant at peak time, this is how we did it. About 30 minutes or so before you want to eat, check on wait at dining room and put in name. Then either have a drink or return to cabin to change your clothes. (Our son used this time to hit the buffet for a quick snack!) Then return to restaurant after wait time is over. We found wait time stated was usually quite accurate.

The only downside we found was that after eating 2-3 meals/day as a family plus spending time together during the day, we would have enjoyed some other dining companions to chat with - not that I don't love my family, but too much uninterrupted togetherness gets old.

Never quite figured out about the "freestyle" attire - there are still reasonable standards for eating in the main dining room. I think perhaps they mean if you refuse to change from t-shirts and shorts you can eat at the buffet.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 10:44 AM
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Freestyle dining is one of the things that "make" NCL for me. I don't really like to eat with strangers and I HATE eating at the same time every night. I like being able to eat when I want to and with whom I want to. I have never had a long wait to be seated in a dining room.
I also don't like having to dress formally (on NCL formal night is optional).
I LOVE Freestyle Disembarkation (wait in your room until your 'color' is called rather than crowd into a noisy uncomfortable public area).
Of course you may find after your NCL cruise that you prefer "traditional" dining etc - some love Freestyle and would have a hard time going back to traditional (like myself), others love traditional.
BTW - Freestyle Dining requires some common sense. If you turn up at a dining room around 7PM (a very popular dining time) on Formal night (most people eat in the dining rooms that night) - the chances are pretty good that you will to wait to be seated. We had no problems getting seated immediatly by simply dining early that one night.
NOTE also: the "specialty" restaurants are MUCH smaller than the dining rooms - you should make reservations for them - especially if you really want a specific date and time. Also they tend to be busier near the end of the cruise.
Your Freestyle Daily WILL indicate which restaurants are "pay extra" and for which reservations are recommended and the opening hours. Unless you have a LARGE party reservations are neither required or recommended for the dining rooms.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 01:02 PM
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While some people love it, others do not. We are in the "do not" catagory.

Being social people we enjoy spending evenings meeting new table mates and have developed many long term friendships that resulted from traditional seating.

I'm glad that NCL has this option for those who like it, it's just not for everyone. So, to each his (or her) own, but it's not for us.

Have fun on your cruise and if you like it, you've found your niche, if not, it gives you a great reason to try another cruise! :;
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Old Nov 7th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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Thanks for all the input.
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