We are not Cruise people have been on only four cruises over the years. We just completed a Western Caribbean cruise on the NCL Sun and it was a wonderful experience.
Freestyle dining was one of the best events during our cruise. On the first night my wife made reservations in the French restaurant for 9pm. We really dined that evening. It was like being at home and going to a better restaurant. Well needless to say we had dinner in one of the restaurants every night except one.
With Freestyle dining we do not have to worry about which seating to select, being entertained by the waiters and bus boys and sitting with strangers.
Oh yes, NCL provided great service everywhere, good securiity, and a Internet deck. I used a terminal to send 55 five e-mails with a picture of us on the ship. Using Wewbmail it took no time.
If we take another curise in the near future it will be on a ship that offers 'Freestyle dining'
Berry, so glad to hear of your wonderful cruise. What ship were you on again and when? My daughter and I have cruised several times and will be doing the NCL Sun in about 5 weeks. We can hardly wait, but on another board just yesterday some gal said she and her husband took the Sun a week ago. It was termite infested, the railings are already peeling and falling apart, the cabin steward was awful and a dead dog was floating in the water outside her cabin. She said it was the trip from HELL. She had not one good thing to say about her cruise. Most reviews lately have been very positive. We are quite social so actually don't mind sitting with others at the table. The worst is when your table mates are not what you would have picked and you are stuck for a week. Anyway let me know which ship you were on........Nita
It's me again, I see now that you were on the Sun. Was that just last week or was it awhile ago. She said she and her husband sailed last week. Also added the weather sucked and they only talked to one couple who liked the cruise and they were first time cruisers. She said everyone was complaining and refusing to sail on NCL again. I am inclined to think she may have been over reacting. What do you think?
We experienced "freestyle" on the Wind last year at this time. To say that it worked on that ship would be a HUGE stretch. The service was not up to the par of RCCL or Carnival, the food was worse. They got us once, but never again. Yes, we had cruised before that and since, just never will NCL abuse us again.
The new NCL Star and Sun were the first ships built specifically for "Free Style" cruising. And I've been hearing nothing but good things of late (since the initial shakedown process). So much so, I'll be going on the NCL Sun for Thanksgiving.. with a CruiseMates group.
I think it was a mistake on the part of NCL to take their other ships, designed for traditional dinner seating, and try and adapt them to "Free Style". They likely did more damage to their repuations with that decision,than derive benefit from it.
Kuki... looking forward to his first "Free Style " cruise... U should join us.
Kuki, I agree with you so much, but I believe the transformation to Freestyle on the Sky has worked pretty well. It's kinda like NCL introducing LeBistro several years ago. For a short time they had a ship that sailed from Houston to Roatan. We took the cruise, had a fairly good time, not the best cruise, but oK, the worst part was the LeBistro on that ship. Ship was not designed for such a restaurant, it was stuck behind the casino with no windows. What a let down after LeBistro on the Sea. Conversions do not always work............happy sailing, I can hardly wait to see for myself...........Nita
We have been on 4 cruises. All with Carnival so this is our first with NCL. Call me dumb but what is freestyle dining. When we made our reservations this was not mentioned. Just wondering. We are sailing on the Normany May 5th.
If traditional dining is what you prefer.......then go for it!! What I was referring to Meloday was your "IF" you can get a reservation. To plan ahead for that. What we particulary liked was not having to be somewhere at a set time, to eat whenever we wanted to. If we chose to make reservations then that needed some planning ahead. Just like reservations anywhere else. Oh........just forget it. What's the use?? I wasn't trying to "convert" you. Just giving my opinion.
I sailed Norwegian Majesty last year this very week. The ship sailed at capacity.
Every time I hear complaints about having to wait in line at the restaurants, I have to wonder if maybe I simply imagined that I was able to waltz right in to a dining room at just about any time I arrived.
Yes, there was a wait at one of the dining rooms one time. There was another dining room a 30 second walk down the indoor 'promenade' that had no line whatsoever!
The pasta restaurant up in the Observatory was pure heaven. Intimate, subdued lighting, and the food was prepared right out in the open.
We had no trouble getting a last minute table in Le Bistro.
One night we wanted to eat in a particular dining room. They didn't have a table for 2 ready and said it might be a while. We could have sat down immediately with others. So we headed to the other main dining room - no problem. Just before reaching the other dining room, the Maitre D from the dining room where we really wanted to eat rushed up to us and said a table had just opened up unexpectedly and it was ours!
That is service!
My only complaint about freestyle is that some of the waiters seemed to need more training on how to serve for freestyle. I formed a theory about this. The waiters that needed help seemed to be heldover from the 'old' NCL-pre freestyle. The more efficient waiters were Asian obviously transferred from Star Cruises which has had 'freestyle' for quite some time now. I think it was a matter of lack of training for the older NCL staff.
Nancy, I respect your opinion, I really do. I just don't think that "freestyle" is what it is advertized to be if you have to wait or get a reservation. We all know that most people eat at or near the same time. So when the herd heads to the trough all at once, there is no way NCL can do what they claim and let you eat when and where you like. Maybe some of their ships are better suited for "freestyle" but the Wind certainly is not. Eating at Le Bistro and paying for food and service that you should already be getting is rather crass as well. I know other lines have similar resturants so I am not bashing NCL on that one. Maybe we had such a bad time of it because the concept was new, but between that and other customer service problems we had, we will never go with NCL again. We do still cruise, doing two cruises this year, just never on NCL again.