How does "Free Style" Dinning work?

Jun 24th, 2004, 07:43 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 24
How does "Free Style" Dinning work?

Our family is thinking of booking a cruise for Norwegian Dawn but is wondering how the free style dinning works. Is it just like going to a regular restaurant that one might get a different waiter and/or a different table each time? And how is the food quality? Thanks in advance for any help.
obason is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 07:50 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 24
Posted my question too soon. I would like to know if there are formal nights. How "free" is it? Can one wear T-shirts and jeans, shorts and sandals on other nights? Thanks.
obason is offline  
Jun 24th, 2004, 09:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,334 the evening shorts, sandals, baseball caps and jeans are NOT allowed in the dining room. Formal night is optional and usually the first day at sea...As for free means thatyou can walk into the dining room until 9:30 at night and be seated for dinner.. We found that we like it and when we find a waiter/waitress wait to be seated at their station. If you choose to eat later in the evening like 7>00 there maybe a wait. It is all free except for the alternative restaurants. You may choose to eat at the buffet upstairs on the pool deck and not worry about "dressing" for the evening.
ParrotMom is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2004, 03:50 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2
You can dine anytime before 9:30 alone or with anyone you choose to dine with. But you must wear resort casual clothing. No Tshirts, jeans, shorts, haler tops.... Slacks will do for men, and either a dress or pant/ blouse for women.... So there is no need for men to pack their tuxes or dark suits, or women to pack their best evening dress or grown.....
donclark is offline  
Jul 24th, 2004, 04:50 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 104
It works okay if there are 2 or 4 of you, but terrible if there is 8 or 10. Everyone must all agree to the time and where. Then they all have to be on time. We found it very complicated and it took time even when we went in smaller groups. Some of our group were always late.
judya is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
In my opinion, it simply doesn't work.

We knew that when selecting NCL, this was going to make or break the whole cruise for us. It was more annoying than I thought.
Having to pay extra for the specialty restaurants is a joke- especially since there was overlap with what they served! I knew we were in trouble when we saw that the specialty Italian restaurant was just the lunch buffet area with a few extra plants.
Also, the complete inconvience of having to make reservations, but only allowing them to be made a day in advance totally discounts "free-style."

I only enjoyed the French restaurant on our ship- but I wasn't willing to pay the extra charge twice. Even more cheeky, was that they charged additional money on top of the surcharge for certain entrees. I thought this was ridiculous. Part of going on a cruise is the inclusive price of food. You could go on NCL and pay $50-100 extra for a meal.

The service was completely lacking at meal time, and was definitely the worst I have experienced on a cruise ship.
jen79 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 08:53 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,974
We tried Freestyle last year on the Dawn and thought it was great. We were a group of 6 and never had more than at 15 minute wait for a table. With a choice of 6 dining venues, it is so much more interesting than being seated at the exact table at the exact time every evening. The longer the cruise the more you can appreciate the variety of Freestyle.

As for the extra cost restaurants, they were well worth the $20 surcharge. They compare well to a top notch restaurant in terms of service, decor and food. Needless to say, you skip them is you prefer not have the extra expense.

Lastly, it avoids the deadly "conversation" with the Shrugloos from Timbuktu. Always a possibility at those awkward table assignments.
Frank is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 09:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 277
While on the Norwegian Sun we enjoyed the freestyle dining in the main dining room but feel that it is ridiculous to be charging extra in the alternative dining rooms (and then additional $ on top of that for certain dishes). If you stick to the main dining room, you shouldn't have any trouble. The food is fine (nothing gourmet) and plentiful. I'd avoid the alternative restaurants...lacking service and not worth the extra cost.

As for dress, they call it "Country Club Casual" nice collared shirt for men, sun dresses, pantsuits for woman. No shorts or jeans...just use your own good judgment.
traveller333 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,974
Forgot to mention that Freestyle works best on the newest ships that were designed for Freestyle, like the Dawn. The Dawn doesn't have a "main" dining room, but 6 "restaurant" (Japanese, Italian, American, Italian Cafe, Mexican and New American) plus 2 extra charge restaurants (Cagney's Steakhouse and Le Bistro). Plenty of choices for a 7 day cruise.
Frank is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 49
The ship we sailed on, the Star, was designed for Freestyle dining as well. Lots of choices, but not a lot of good food...
jen79 is offline  

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