open seating for dinner

Old Nov 23rd, 2008, 09:48 AM
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open seating for dinner

Hi. We are booked on a Holland America cruise and now have to decide between open seating and a specific dinner time. We have cruised often and know all about the specific time and nothing about open seating. What are the pros and cons? Opinions about which is best?
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Old Nov 23rd, 2008, 12:47 PM
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We enjoyed open seating on the Volendam. We always had a table for 2 without any problem. If you so desire you can be seated with others as well.
You can call for a reservation in the morning for that evening.I waited until afternoon a few times and was told no table for 2 was available but when we showed up we got one. They might hold back some tables???? Don't know, but it worked out fine.
We liked being able to eat when we so desired. We really did not find any negatives.
There is a VERY LONG thread on cruisecritic about "As You WIsh Dining"....many varied opinions and insights. Register and go to Holland America forum.
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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 01:21 AM
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Agree w/katybird. Chose Open seating for a 10-dayer on the Noordam and NEVER had to wait.

Do check cruisecritic. One pro opinion for OS is that you may find yourselves tired or back late from touring & can dine anytime within the time slot which is not an option w/fixed.
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Old Nov 24th, 2008, 06:20 AM
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Haven't cruised on this ship,but for the first time did open seating on our New England cruise on the Caribbean princess. We really liked it and seldom waited any time for our dinners. We have chosen open seating on our Holland Trip down the Mexican Riviera the last of Jan. so hope it will be just as good.
Pros are you are not limited to a time to be at dinner and also you meet many people you would not meet with the traditional seating. Also if you are in a hurry one night you can sit at a table for 2.

I would definitely try open seating unless I were traveling with a group.
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Old Nov 26th, 2008, 03:22 PM
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We were given open seating on our cruise on the Zuiderdam in June. We had no choice. There were 3 of us. A nice feature was that you were seated with some new people every night. A disadvantage was that you were seated with new people every night. At worst it was an hour and a half with some people you would not normally know; which is better than a week with same. You need to learn the best times to go for dinner. We gwnerally arrived about 6:30 and had no problems. We talked to some others who had long waits at 7. Overall, open seating seems more "natural", less regimented. They also offer the opportunity to call for specific times, but try as I might, i never talked to any one who was successful. They were always full when called even within the first few minutes of opening. On the overall, we liked open seating. Made the dining thing less of a big deal.
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Old Nov 29th, 2008, 02:23 PM
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Friends and I were on the Eurodam in the fall and had open seating. There were six of us and we did have to wait at times. What we did not like was the fact that while on other cruises after a couple of nights the wait staff began to anticipate our desires (because naturally that had served us) the open seating meant that we had to keep hoping the staff would come back so we could ask for something. The service as compared to Celebrity left much to be desired and we would NOT go on Holland America again.
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Old Nov 30th, 2008, 12:15 AM
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We also sailed Eurodam, this really is the only HAL ship whre service isnot the way it is on the other ship. I was told the ship is understaffed.
We recently sailed Ryndam again, which was much better in service and food.
I still prefer fixed dining, your waiter knows what you like, more personal etc.
On HAL AYW dining the advice is to avoid possible lines to make advance reservations.
And compared to Celebrity we prefer HAL, far more interesting art on board, always fresh flowers around, fruit in the cabin etc.
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