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Old December 29th, 2006, 09:18 AM
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Default What's up with all the reservations?

Ok, we're booked on the Spirit for May 19th, which will be here in no time. I keep reading on this and other boards that one of the first things you should do when you embark is to make all of your reservations for dinner.

My question is why do I need to make reservations as soon as I get on the ship? Doesn't this kind of fly in the face of the whole concept of freestyle cruising? I'm not at all interested in planning out our dining schedule for the entire 8 days and would really prefer to just eat when and where we feel like eating at that time.

What happens if you have no reservations? I'm cruising with family consisting of my wife, daughter, mother-in-law and wife's aunt. We generally like to eat late, like after 8:00. Will it be a problem getting a table for 5, after 8:00? Long waits? Since DW, DD and I are booked in a Penthouse category, does the Concierge have any pull for getting short notice dining times reserved?

The whole idea of deciding when and where to eat on the first day just bothers me. Its just not what I expected from Freestyle cruising.

Thoughts and comments are most appreciated.

Tim
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Old December 29th, 2006, 12:22 PM
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Jaggy, yes, your concierge should take care of your dinner reservations. Get to know him/her as soon as you embark. There is absolutely no reason for you to have reservations for any of the main dining rooms. The reference to reservations is for the specialty dining rooms. It is suggested you do try and make them the first day on board as the prime times fill up quickly. This is where the concierge comes in. Just let him know if you want to dine in the alternative dining rooms and he/she should take over from there. Good luck and have a wonderful cruise. NMNita
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Old December 29th, 2006, 03:26 PM
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Tim, this was quite a frustrating aspect of our cruise on the Star in November. I would try to get reservations say for the next day or the day after that, and was told none was available or after 9 p.m.

But thank goodness, the assistant Matrie'd Julie from Romania took a liking to Art and I. She gave me her telephone number and said to let her know if we had any problem getting into a restaurant, and she would get us in. We only had to do this once, but it definitely was frustrating.

Honestly I think the best way to get seated is to go in person to the restaurant, and make your reservation there. *Every* time I called the general number, I was told they were booked. I think by having the concierge, that is gonna help immensely.

BTW, the food was *fantastic* in the alternative restaurants. Oddly enough, Cagneys was our least favorite. Le Bistro our fave, followed by Soho and Ginza.

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Old December 29th, 2006, 05:16 PM
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Default Freestyle Dining

Jaggy, We cruised on the 7 day Pride of Hawaii around the islands just before Thanksgiving. I understand your reluctance to try to make all your reservations the first day, but I took advice from the message boards and did just that, and we don't regret it at all. It did not take a whole lot of planning - we just went to one specialty restaurant the very first night and made all the reservations there. We picked a steak restaurant one night, then mexican, italian, french and one other for the other nights. We left one night unplanned when we knew we would be going off ship to a luau. We picked 6 pm for every dinner since we were going all day, not to mention that to our bodies from Alabama that was 10 pm! Every night we just breezed into the restaurants while long lines formed outside. We heard over and over again that people left their reservations till the last minute and then could not get a seat. All of our meals were very good (with one exception) and we still had time to get to the 8:00 shows. The concept of freestyle dining does sounds very appealing, but in reality it does take a little planning.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 08:34 AM
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We will be on the POH in May (which a my age seems like next week) I understad that making reservations for the speciality resturants need to be accomplished as soon as we board. We want to use the main dining rooms for most of our dinners. For a party of two (or to sit open style with others at larger tables) we DO NOT need reservations in the main dining rooms, RIGHT? Let's say around 6:00PM?

Also, are any of the speciality resturants open for lunch? The Asian, Latin, and Italian look interesting, but perhaps more for lunch that dinner.
Does one need reservations for lunch?

Also, I hear that there are discounts on the fees? For the first night?
Before 6:30 every night? Do I have OCD? Jimbo
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Old January 1st, 2007, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo_Boston
We will be on the POH in May (which a my age seems like next week) I understad that making reservations for the speciality resturants need to be accomplished as soon as we board. We want to use the main dining rooms for most of our dinners. For a party of two (or to sit open style with others at larger tables) we DO NOT need reservations in the main dining rooms, RIGHT? Let's say around 6:00PM?

Also, are any of the speciality resturants open for lunch? The Asian, Latin, and Italian look interesting, but perhaps more for lunch that dinner.
Does one need reservations for lunch?

Also, I hear that there are discounts on the fees? For the first night?
Before 6:30 every night? Do I have OCD? Jimbo
6pmish you should have no problems. You can just walk up to the greeter and you may be asked if you want to share a table. It is your choice, we normally do share, if asked cause we get tired of talking to each other, or should I say, DH gets tired of hearing me talk. NMnita
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Old January 1st, 2007, 12:44 PM
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When we were on the Jewel in November, we didn't have any trouble at all getting seating in the main dining room without reservations. The only time we made a reservation was when we were eating with a group of 8 from our cruise critic roll-call. We tended to eat between 6 and 7, and never had any wait time at all.

I'm not a fan of allowing reservations to be made for the entire week. We heard lots of people, who probably didn't know anything about any of the cruise message boards, complaining that they weren't able to try the specialty restaurants as they hadn't made reservations early in the week. To me, having to book every night as soon as you board, it totally opposite from "freestyle" cruising, so we just plan on eating almost all of our meals in the main dining room.

For the original poster -- booking reservations is definitely one perk from being in a situation where you can use the concierge. Even though we'd heard complaints all week about the specialty dining rooms being full, I personally know of at least 3 occassions where the concierge was able to pull rank and make either new reservations or modify existing reservations for people with concierge access, later on in the week.
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Old January 1st, 2007, 03:34 PM
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Jimbo, I am not sure what specialty restaurants were open at lunch. To be honest there were so many great excursions in Hawaii that we were off the ship every day except one. On that day we had burgers from the grill next to the pool and they were wonderful. The week of our cruise was during the period when there had been some kind of outbreak so for health reasons the entire buffet was Saran Wrapped. You had to wait in line for an employee just to pour you a cup of coffee, so we avoided that area altogether. Otherwise that would probably be a good place to have lunch.

Regarding the discount in the specialty restaurants between 5:30 and 6:30, it is half price. HOWEVER, the waiters didn't always pay attention. One night (my husband says it was in Le Bistro) they charged us the full surcharge and we had to ask them to correct it.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 08:07 AM
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Hello,

My husband and I are about to set sail on the Jewel. I had no idea about the discounts in the specialty restaurants between 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. do you know if this is still the scenario?

"Regarding the discount in the specialty restaurants between 5:30 and 6:30, it is half price. HOWEVER, the waiters didn't always pay attention. One night (my husband says it was in Le Bistro) they charged us the full surcharge and we had to ask them to correct it.[/quote]"

Thanks for any assistance you may offer!
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Old January 4th, 2007, 06:44 PM
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Travelor, Since this was our first NCL cruise I don't know if a discount is offered at all the specialty restaurants between 5:30 and 6:30 - it was on the Pride of America. It seems like a good way to get people in to eat at not so busy times. I imagine it will be in the literature they send you before the cruise, if not, definitely on the daily schedules.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 12:13 PM
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Default NCL is a joke

We had some problems with reservations on the Majesty. We were told that we needed reservations for the two main dining rooms as well as the specialty restaurants. We were told that reservations had to be made in person or over the telephone. We called on the first full day and every night was booked up. We did go to dinner early (between 6:30 - 7:30) and we never had to wait too long.

A lot of people love Freestyle Dining. It's a big selling point for NCL. I really don't care for Freestyle Dining. I prefer Traditional Dining. It's nice to meet the new people assigned to your table. It's also nice to have the same waiters every night. I've been on 17 cruises and only once did I have a terrible table mate. It's nice to have the option of Freestyle or Traditional.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 01:28 PM
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Pacific heights, I am sorry you ended up on the Christmas cruise with the engine problems and I can see why you would be upset.

But your experiences on the Majesty are NOT typical, you do not need reservations for the dining rooms, but you CAN make them if you want a specific time each night or a specific table, that you can book. As for the specialty yes you can make reservations and probably should but you can also come walk up and if you are flexible with time most likely be seated.

You have been hitting every NCL thread and board trying to trash NCL, well Stuff, like the engine thing, does happen. and yes they knew about it and were trying to keep sailing till full repairs could be done.

Also you were booked on a CHRISTMAS cruise, do you expect that a packed holiday cruise is typical of year round cruising with NCL or any other line?

I am sorry you had such bad luck but I hope everyone reading your totally negative posts will take your words with several grains of salt.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luv2travl06
Travelor, Since this was our first NCL cruise I don't know if a discount is offered at all the specialty restaurants between 5:30 and 6:30 - it was on the Pride of America. It seems like a good way to get people in to eat at not so busy times. I imagine it will be in the literature they send you before the cruise, if not, definitely on the daily schedules.
The 2 for 1 dining varies from ship to ship. Sometimes it is the first night only, others it is from 5:30 to 6:30 and others may be different. As for anyone claiming they need to make reservations for the main dining, this is not true. The only time this would enter into the picture would be a very large group or if someone has a particular wait person they want to assist them each night. In fact making reservations for the main dining rooms is actually discouraged except under special circumstances. NMNita
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