We just posted a news story that Majesty now has full "free-style" cruising on board.
Norwegian Majesty Converted To "Freestyle"
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) converted the Norwegian Majesty to Freestyle Cruising on August 20, 2000, making it the second ship in NCL's fleet to adopt its new cruise concept. Freestyle Cruising mainly affects dining facilities, hours of service and the number of options -- open seating dining in the main restaurant and Le Bistro (open at 5:30 p.m. to closing); Cafe Royal (6:00 to 1:00 a.m.) and the Royal Observatory (6:00 to 9:30 p.m.). The ship's new dress code is 'resort casual' eliminating the ship-wide "formal nights." Passengers who wish to dress in formal attire during the one optional formal night are welcomed to do so at specific restaurants. NCL has increased the number of crew members by 60 aboard the Norwegian Majesty to offer passengers a higher crew-to-guest ratio. The recommended gratuities are automatically added to each passenger's on board account, with the option to add to or deduct from the gratuity, depending on their personal experience. And, instead of disembarking from the ship the moment it docks the last morning, passengers may depart the ship at their leisure.
NCL says it intends to extend Freestyle Cruising to all of its ships by summer, 2001.
Why do people assume that there will be extra charges for food "down the line"?
I think that the people at NCL are not stupid - they are trying freestyle to try and get more passengers, not alienate existing customers. Extra charges for food would not fly in the North American market. The Asian market is much different and much more focussed on the gambling aspects of cruising - the people who own Star made there money in casinos, etc.
In short, why worry about what might come down the line, but probably won't? Give freestyle a try - you might just like it.
If you had read the interview with NCL's new president, you might understand why many posters believe that it is their intention to eventually adopt Star's dining policies. You may in fact be right that the format will not fly, but since they seem to be trying to attract people who have not cruised before and who usually stay at land-based resorts where food is usually an additional expense, many of these new guests will not be as surprised to find such a policy on a cruise ship. Clearly all of the lines will need to significantly increase the cruising population to fill all of their new ships and some lines may decide it is more in their interest to appeal to a new, larger potential audience even if they lose the smaller number of veteran cruisers. Since it is a business there is a certain logic to their position, which we should acknowledge even if we don't like it. We can hope that there will be enough ships which will continue to offer a traditional experience to those of us who prefer it.
I just returned from a cruise on the Norwegian Sky. This was my seventh cruise. The third with NCL. I thoroughly enjoyed the flexibility of freestyle cruising and the service at dinner was excellent. There was always a table ready for my party of four no matter what time we decided to eat that particular evening. We ate our meals in the Seven Seas dining room which is aft. Breakfast and lunch we usually ate at the Garden Cafe which is also aft. The theater is aft and our room was aft so getting around the ship was easy for us. Try freestyle cruising on the Sky. I think you will change your mind about freestyle cruising as I did.
JUST A THOUGHT- THE CASINOS AND LOUNGES USUALLY EMPTY OUT AT 5:OO OR SO AS PEOPLE START TO GET READY TO GO EAT. DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT "FREESTYLE" ,MIGHT HELP ELIMINATE THAT "CASH FLOW" ISSUE BECAUSE NOW THEY CAN GO AT THEIR LEISURE? i'M LOOKING FORWARD TO SAILING ON THE SKY 10/29 WITH A LARGE GROUP..