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anytime dining

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mailew

Guest
#1
Okay, the controversy continues as to whether traditional dining or anytime dining is best.
As for me, i've heard arguments for both sides. Me? I am traditionalist and have been hesitant about booking NCL since they instituted anytime dining. Lets hear from both pro and con on this matter. Okay.... Go
 
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Bossladycruising

Guest
#2
We have only been on one cruise and we chose NCL because of the freestyle dining. Like being able to eat when we want and by ourselves. This worked for us. If you want to see a show say at 7:30 then eating at 5:30 you can make it. We pretty much ate between 5:30 and 6:30 and had no wait time. Found the buffet on the Star to be pretty good. Ate there quite a bit. Don't know if this helps but good luck on making your decision.
 
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Don Clark

Guest
#3
What about traditional Dining do you like best?

Being told when you can dine? Being told who you will done with? Being told where you will dine? Being told who will serve you?

Besides traditional dining cruise ships, the only other place in the world that does that is your local jail.
 
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CruisingRocks

Guest
#4
I've only taken one NCL cruise and absolutely LOVED the freestyle dining. I know that alot of people don't like the concept, but I think that's because other cruise lines haven't implemented it as effectively as NCL. It's soooo nice to be able to go to dinner when you're ready and not when the cruise line tells you to.
 
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mailew

Guest
#5
Gee Don... I recognize you... you are the guy that comes to the dining room with tank top,blue jeans, and baseball cap turned backwards and then leaves his hat on during the meal. I am assuming you know about jails from first hand experience. Well my friend. to each his own. I have not sailed NCL since they installed open seating. And I probably never will.
 
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davejohn

Guest
#6
I've done both, traditional on RCCL and HAL, anytime on NCL and Windstar. Each has it's advantages and disadvantages.

Anytime is nice when you've had a long day ashore and you don't want to rush back to dinner. You can also eat when (and in the case of NCL...where) you desire. You can eat when you're hungry, not when you're scheduled to dine. Of course, even traditional is somewhat flexible, you can always go to the buffet when you want. NCL does anytime better than anyone, with a wider choice of restaurants, although most are extra cost.

Of all the times we've had traditional dining we've always had really nice table mates, and dinner was something to look forward to. Over a week or more you could get to know people, and your wait staff got to know you and your desires. We've continued to correspond with friends we made at dinner. With anytime dining, even sharing a table the conversation tends to be repetitive with new people every night. On RCCL we lucked out and had officers assigned to our table twice. They didn't show up every night, but when they did it was a treat.

Personally, I look to itinerary and cost when choosing a cruise. Dining options is way down on the list.
 
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uppitycats

Guest
#7
Mailew, if you've already made up your mind, why ask the question? As you noted, there are advantages and disadvantages to both, and some just like one better than the other. I've cruised under both systems, and prefer the free-style myself; gives me much more flexibility to eat when I want to. While I might not have used a jail analogy, living in a boarding school also comes to mind.

Unlike someone else who posted, thinking you really wanted differing views and not just an affirmation of yours... when I cruised on a ship with "traditional" scheduled dining, I had tablemates with whom I was very uncomfortable. And I'm not a great conversationalist, nor outgoing, so not having to deal with strangers at every mean, the freestyle dining suits me just fine.

NCL, by the way, isn't the only one using this concept.
 
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Don Clark

Guest
#8
True, but NCL is the only cruise line that uses Freestyle Dining ship wide.
The others still use Traditional Dining also. Therefore their restaurant choices are limited.
 
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uppitycats

Guest
#9
[quote Don Clark]True, but NCL is the only cruise line that uses Freestyle Dining ship wide.
The others still use Traditional Dining also. Therefore their restaurant choices are limited.[/quote]

Yes, the last cruise I was on (on a Princess ship) had both. We ate at the traditional dining room once during the cruise, and used the others for the other meals. I've not cruised on an NCL yet...cruise is scheduled for this fall...but am very much looking forward to all the choices.

The thing I don't like about meals on a cruise ship these days are all the "specialty" restaurants that charge extra for the "privilege" of eating there. When I first starting cruising some years ago, one of the attractions was the "all inclusiveness" of the charges -- you paid for the cruise, all the meals were covered. Now I have to pick and choose a bit more carefully, or save a bit more $$ than I might have intended to spend.

Oh well. Any day on a cruise ship is better than not sailing!
 
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packercruise

Guest
#10
There are no cons to freestyle that I can see. If you like traditional dining you can do that with freestyle. If you like to dress for dinner, go at 6:30 every night and have the same waiter, you can do that with freestyle.

There are obvious cons to traditional dining where you Have to be there at the same time every night, and don't be late, Have to have the same waiter, who may or may not be to your liking, and Have to sit with the same people who you may or may not have things in common with. :)
 
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nmnita

Guest
#11
why are you even asking the question? I am sure Don can speak for himself, but that wasn't a very nice response. As for what we prefer? well, obviously, "freestyle" is very popular and catching on more everyday as all mass marketed lines except maybe Carnival have some form of it. yes, for some traditional dining is the way to go, for others, it is vacation time and flexibility can add to the enjoyment of vacationing. To get DH on a ship without an flex dining policy would be like asking him to go fishing where there were no fish in the lake.

I do agree with those who say there are pros and cons to both. If being pampered is your thing, stick with traditional dining, I don't need to be pampered so I would prefer the relaxation and friendly crew on NCL ships to the stuffy and phony crew are some lines.

Just my 2 cents worth here.

Nita
 
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Cruizer

Guest
#12
The following is from my review of my first NCL cruise on the Star ...

What sets Norwegian apart from everyone else is the Freestyle dining. As I mentioned, there are ten dining areas. Six are free, four cost extra, and only three do not require reservations (Aqua, Versailles and the Blue Lagoon). It is noted that Norwegian does not allow blue jeans, tank tops, shorts, T-shirts or beachwear in any of the restaurants after 5:00pm. It is also noted that Aqua and Versailles (the two main restaurants) get very busy between 7pm and 8pm.

The advantage of Freestyle dining is you can eat when you want. However, that is only true in three of the ten restaurants. All the other restaurants require reservations. What is the difference between making a reservation and having a set dining time? Also, for groups this can be a problem. In traditional dining you show up at your table at the assigned time. You know the rest of your group will either already be there, or will arrive soon. With Freestyle dinning, your group has to decide where it wants to eat and when. If you have ever tried to get a group to agree on anything, you know what a chore this can be. Also, if your group is large enough, you can guarantee that someone will show up at the wrong restaurant at the right time, or show up at the right restaurant at the wrong time. For me, I don’t like having to take time out of my day to make a reservation. The whole idea of cruising is to have a carefree vacation. I believe that having to make reservations takes away from that experience.
 
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packercruise

Guest
#13
Well how about putting that all in perspective. The 3 dining areas where you do not need reservations are the two main dining rooms and the buffet, right? It's probably not a stretch to say that at least 75% of the pax eat in 1 of those for their entire cruise Others will go to a rerstaurant where they need a reservation once or twice. Making a reservation takes less than a minute. Do it during the day when you are in that area or make the reservation from the phone in your room. Want to do a specialty restaurant 6 pm one night, 7 pm the next and 8 pm another night? We were on RCI in March and had the same situation with specialty dining so it isn't specific to NCL. It looks like you are trying to equate the 10 restaurants. What you should be doing, IMO is comparing the main diningroom rules on other ships with freestyle dining.
 
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nmnita

Guest
#14
I agree with what you are saying, most will choose the main dining rooms with the exception of maybe, once a cruise. Some of us prefer to try the alternative dining more. I know many who have never considered paying extra. As for the challenge of making and getting a reservation for a specialty dining, we couldn't even get one on Celebrity 4 years ago, they allowed booking prior to cruising. As for Princess, earlier this year, we had to take what was available and it wasn't much. It took us flexing our schedule in order to get anything close to the time we wanted for Sabatinis.

Again, freestyle isn't for everyone but is becoming the accepted form of dining. One doesn't go to a resort on land and have an assigned dining time, or at least I haven't heard of that.

Nita.
 
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packercruise

Guest
#15
When we were on the Jewel we ate at Cagneys 3 nights out of the 7. IMO the extra price you pay is a bargain. We have never had any trouble getting reservations at or near the time we have wanted them on any NCL cruise. I have never been on Princess or Celebrity but RCI only had 1 specialty restaurant so maybe availability of specialty restaurants has something to do with the difficulty in booking. NCL does not allow you to make reservations prior to boarding as far as I know. The point is, if you want traditional dining on NCL, it's available to you. If you want to require that everyone else on your cruise eat at a specific time every day, NCL is not for you.
 
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nmnita

Guest
#16
I think you have hit the nail on the head. Because some lines only have 1 specialty dining room it can be more difficult. Princess does have 2, but, like RCI, Celebrity only has one. On our last Sun cruise, my daughter and I never ate in the same restaurant twice. We did all the specialty dining rooms, the 2 main dining rooms and one night chose to just have appitzers in Las Rambles and then later in the evening we went to the sports bar for sandwhiches. This is what makes NCL special in our opinion.

Nita
 
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packercruise

Guest
#19
Absolutely! I had pizza for an appetizer and it was a meal in itself and it was great!(tu)
 
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MrLee

Guest
#20
One point that seems to be missing here is,even if you have to make a reservation, with anytime dining it doesn't have to be the same time each night. Therefor, if you want to stay in port until the last minute you don't have to rush to shower and change for your meal even if you normally eat early.