I have just been reading about freestyle dining on NCL and I was wondering if this meant that there are waits for dinner now. It seems that this will be just like going out to a restaurant in the evening when most people want to eat around 7:00 --- I would hate to be sitting around waiting for a table to become free.
That is actually not the case since on most cruises people come from Different time zones and end up hungry at different times. Also with Norwegian Cruise Line there are so many places to eat that you will virtually never have to wait for a seat.
I don't know where "cruising crazy" got their information, but we just got off the Sky and unless you were there right at 5:30 when the dining rooms opened, a line soon formed as people waited for tables to empty..and NO place to sit and wait, you stood..there were only the 2 dining rooms and the upstairs buffet to eat out as ALL the other dining rooms had a surcharge and what I saw of them, nothing to warrant that...sorry to be a downer but these are our honest opinions...plus read my message, "we were on the SKY during the mishap" for our opinion on the buffet..I will say the entertainment was TOPS! Have a nice cruise...Max
We just got off NCL Wind this week and loved most aspects of Freestyle Dining.
There was never a wait of more than a couple of minutes to be seated - with the only exception being on Formal Night. We wanted a table for two and were willing to wait an extra 15 minutes for a table to clear - no problem, just sat at the adjacent Rendezvous Lounge.
There were 6 different options for dinner, and only one (Le Bistro) that charged $10 per person extra.
The only thing we were unhappy about was the spotty service. Some of the servers were terrific and others seemed to just go through the motions. Some passengers got around this by finding their favourite dining rooms and waiters and sticking with them for most of the cruise. We didn't, simply because we wanted to try all the different dining rooms. Next time, we'll probably stick mostly to the Trattoria (Italian) and The Terraces.
I was aboard NCL Majesty in March during a pretty full cruise. Except for about a 30 minute window at around 7pm when short lines formed for the main restuarants, there was never any wait. We just avoided that time frame and literally walked right in and were seated immediately, or simply went to a different restaurant.
On the Sky there are only 2 out of 6 or 7 dining venues with the gratuity charge: Le Bistro and Horizons. None of the others do.
We experienced freestyle dining on the Wind in March. There were huge lines down the corridor waiting for seats. The staff eventually started taking reservations. Go figure. Those without reservations were seated in the back tables away from the windows. All in all we will skip NCL in the future as "freestyle" dining was anything but.
We were on the NCL Sky 4/8-4/23 and loved freestyle dining. Th only time we encountered a wait was at the Four Seasons which was right under the show room. After the show everyone would head for this dining room at the same time. So, of course there would be a wait. You can't seat 800 people immediately. The alternative is to go to the dining room before a show or during. You can always walk to the dining room that isn't near the showroom. The three alternative dining rooms Horizon's, LeBristro and Ciao Chow's charge a $10/pp fee. We liked being able to dine when we were hungry, not when we were assigned to be hungry.
We just returned from NCL DREAM on Baltic Capitals cruise. It was the ships 2nd cruise with Freestyle. They did a good job of seating people immediately. Only on the formal night/free drinks was there a rush after the party. We always asked for a table for two by ourselves and received it promptly--often by the windows. The Dream is not really built for a big buffet upstairs but we had good weather so we ate breakfast on the outside deck several times. They even fancied up the Sports Bar with table cloths for the evening meals if you wanted to eat up there. They had LOBSTER tails in the sports bar the same night as in the regular dining room. I missed having the same waiter, but the service was just as good 95% of the time. I think the casual atmosphere was definitely liked by most passengers.
Beware of posts that use words, like "never". As you can see from other posts, and as common sense tells you, there can be times when they will not be able to seat you immediately. Early on the line even discussed providing waiting guests with beepers so that they would not be restricted to the lobby of the dining room while waiting for their table. Just another wonderful feature taken from those "land based resorts" they want to turn a cruise ship into.
I don't know about you, Anita, but whenever I travel, I usually adapt to the local time within a day or two, so I don't think the different time zones will make much difference once the cruise is a day or two old. Freestyle dining may appeal to some but not all cruisers and like most things, there are good points and bad points about it. Persons making the choice ought to have all of those factors available to them so that they can make an informed decision. That is one of the benefits of cruise boards such as this one.
I am glad you enjoyed it. There were lines at all the resturants on board except Le Bistro. When they started taking reservations, that ended the "freestyle" dining once and for all. We will not return to NCL for that and other reasons.
Just returned from the Majesty Boston to Bermuda 5/20 to 5/27. This is my third trip on this ship and first experience with freestyle. I was a little anxious about it but was pleasantly surprised. We never had to wait and they always accomodated our seating requests. Although I did miss the cameradarie with the same waiter, we found the service to be good and the food great.
I've never sailed NCL, but am considering a 9-24 sailing aboard the Norwegian Dream. Other than your dining trouble, what other problems were you alluding to? Once you did get seated, how was the food? service? Thank you.
The food was ok, nothing special. The appitizers did not change though. The only thing that did change nightly were two entrees except for one night when they had chefs choice. That was so bad most people opted out. As for the service, it left a lot to be desired since they do not do individual tipping either. They take all the tip money and divide it out equally. That means that the servers who give great service get the same amount as those who don't. Human nature being what it is, you end up with the lowest common demoninator. All in all, we had a pretty good time, but will avoid NCL like the plague in the future.
Actually "gliner" there is incentive for the waiters to do a good job. On Norwegian Majesty, one evening we had the unfortunate luck of having a really bad waiter. I simply raised my eyebrow when the assitant Maitre D' was looking in my direction. The message was received. He came right over and fixed things, PLUS I noticed him having a talk with the waiter over to the side later on.
True, but not having the same waiter each evening leaves a lot to be desired. We found the service on the Wind to be very lacking. We had several problems with wait staff who could not speak english. Many of them were Romanian and had problems with english. Asking a question and having it answered with a shrug of the shoulders got really old really fast. Granted, that could happen with any line, but in our 8 cruises we have only experienced it on NCL.
We just cruised on the Sky in May and loved NCL and Freestyle. We happened upon a great waiter in the aft section of the 7 Seas Dining Room and usually sat in his section every night. He was the best waiter we had ever had on all 7 cruises, including Celebrity and HAL. And the bar service was so attentive, we thought we were on HAL.