"Freestyle" dining

Aug 22nd, 2005, 04:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 361
"Freestyle" dining

I've heard that princess and NCL have started this , meaning even dinner is whenever you want--you aren't tied to a schedule for early or late dining in the evening. This seems a huge plus to me, since we always took the later seating because it was easier to schedule tours around it, but next time we're going with our kids who don't like to eat so late. Can anyone comment on this new option?

sjde53 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 05:40 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 270
After a miserable experience on HAL's set seating years ago, I've since sailed only on lines that offer open seating--principally Radisson Seven Seas. I would never sail on a ship with set seating again. It's so much better to eat when you're hungry, rather then when you're scheduled. And much better to choose your table-mates. If you haven't met anyone by dinnertime, not to worry--the maitre d' will ask what size table you want and seat you with others. My one caution about ships that previously had set seating and now are switching to free style: lines. I like RSSC because its ship's dining rooms are designed to handle everyone on the ship, even if they all show up at once. Which they sometimes do. On ships designed for set seating, the dining room is designed to handle only half the px, so you can run into lines waiting for a table, or at least so I've heard.
crys is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2005, 08:37 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 8,201
We've cruised Princess and Oceania for the open seating dining option. You'd have trouble convincing me to go back to set seatings. I like to eat when and with whom I want, and I like meeting different people.
abram is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2005, 02:46 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 460
We found a HUGE diference between Princess & NCL!!We really liked Princes - you were seated right away. We hate NCL's freestyle! On NCL we ALWAYS had to wait, everyone had to wait, sometimes 45 minutes, in the hall, no chairs.People sat on the steps. We were told you didn't have to wait if you showed up before 6. We like to eat 8-8:30. We always said we wanted to share a table and twice were given a table for 2. In the dining room they were so slow clearing empty tables no wonder there was a wait.
We do like assigned seats, getting to know your waiter and tablemates - and knowing when you can sit down!
bonniejns is offline  
Aug 25th, 2005, 03:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,094
We sailed NCL a year ago. Some tips to make "Freestyle" work. About 1/2 hour before you want to eat, go to selected dining room and put your name in. They will tell you approximate wait time. Then, go back to cabin and change, go to bar and have a drink, etc.

We sailed with 2 teens. Our son discovered a pizza or burger at 5:30 was a nice snack and our daughter hit the buffet line for dessert at 5:00 - then we all ate around 7:30 or so.

We found only truly horrible lines were on first night when everyone had boarded, unpacked, explored and wanted to eat at 7:00.

Except for this night, we found plenty of places to sit - just not within 10 feet of entrance to dining room. And wait-time estimates were usually accurate.

I would rather have to wait a bit than be programmed to eat when the cruiseline tells me to eat.
gail is offline  
Aug 25th, 2005, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,281
On the NCL cruises I was on I never had to wait longer than a few minutes to be seated.
semiramis is offline  
Sep 4th, 2005, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 4
We've cruised at least twice (7 days each) with NCL. We dined at least 10 times in the dining room without a wait of over a minute or two. They have enough satisfied customers to launch a couple more ships lately so a lot of people think they are doing alright.
gkman11 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2005, 03:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,426
We just finished a cruise with Princess to Alaska and they have the options for both. We returned late one night from our excursion and hopped right to an open restaurant. No sweat. For us its nice to have an option.
jacketwatch is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 02:51 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 4,469
I will have cruised NCL 3 times in a year. Once to Alaska, twice out of NYC. I never had any long waits for a table and service was just excellent with good food. I have also sailed Princess with the personal choice and saw little difference.

I'm just back from cruise 34 for me so have a lot to compare to. Overall, dining is several notches below what it used to be. And never a big priority for me.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 02:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,426
BQ: How does NCL compare to Princess in terms of service, food, entertainment or overall really? I really liked the Sapphire Princess. Thank you, Larry.
jacketwatch is offline  
Sep 14th, 2005, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 4
I have experienced with both cruise lines and love it. When you have had a fourteen day cruise with a set dining time and incompatible people at your table, dinner turns to indigestion. I am planning a cruise on Celebrity that does not have this and hope that my dining partners will have lively conversation without any political opinions.
Jekyll is offline  

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