I'VE NEVER CRUISED WITH "FREE STYLE DINING CHOICES"...HOW DOES IT WORK? I'M INTERESTED IN GOING ON THE STAR PRINCESS IN OCT. IF I WANT CAN I EAT IN THE DINING ROOM AS WELL AS THE OTHER RESTAURANTS...OR DO I HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER?
First, Shan, please don't use all caps - it's equal to yelling.
I think you have the choices a bit mixed up. There is Traditional Dining where you choose early or late sitting and eat there every night. (This is my personal preference because I like the personal service you get from the wait staff who get to know you and you get to know your fellow passengers.)
Then, there's Personal Choice where you go to that other dining room at just about any time during the evening and ask to be seated. You might be seated right away or have to wait a bit. Or, I guess you can call and reserve a time. One thing I've read about this is that it can get a bit disconcerting with passengers coming and going at all times.
Both Traditional and Personal Choice serve the same menu.
And, the third choice would be the specialty restaurants where you pay extra for your meal - Sabatinis which is $20 or $25 per person for a 5 course meal - lasting about 2-1/2 hours ... and another one which differs on the Princess ships. (One of the regular posters, calls these ripoff dining rooms ... or something like that. Because the meals in the dining room are very good without having to spend the extra bucks on the alternate dining rooms.)
And, I believe the Free Style dining is the one on Norwegian Cruise Line which means the whole ship is on what's called Personal Choice on Princess and no Traditional Dining is available.
I cruise the Emerald Princess, Eastern Caribbean on April 16, 2012
I love Personal Choice -- took the rush and scheduoling out of the cruise (and on these cruises, we just wanted to be together, though we've enjoyed traditional dining on many other cruises).
I did want to add on CruzNut's message that there are two personal choice dining rooms on the Star Princess. We ate consistently in the Capri, because it seemed easier to walk right into. Also, one specialty (additional charge) restaurant she didn't mention was Tequila's, which is $8 per person. But this includes a margarita, and the food/portions was quite amazing.
I agree. On our recent Star Princess cruise we changed to personal choice after only one day. We loved it. All of the dining rooms on the Star Princess are good. Sabatini's is a must at least once for dinner and once for brunch while at sea. The brunch is a bargain because it included unlimited Chandon Sparkling Wine during the entire meal which lasted 2-3 hours. Tequila's is great too and as Harry said, you get a free margarita of good quality, which is really a trade-off for the $8. Have fun she is a wonderful ship.
If RCCl goes to freestyle or Personal Choice dining, I am going to scream. I like traditional because the waiters learn your preferences, they know the speed on which you eat, and your likes and dislikes. I like to be pampered and with the new style of dining, I think you lose that.