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Old April 3rd, 2007, 09:23 PM
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Default DINING RESERVATIONS

HI. HOW DO WE MAKE RESERVATIONS FOR THE SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS ON THE JEWEL? I READ THAT YOU CAN ONLY BOOK THEM 24HRS. BEFORE...IS THAT CORRECT? WOULD APPRECIATE INFORMATION ON MAKING DINNER RESERVATIONS. THANKS
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 09:59 PM
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Sssssshhh!

I hope they have made the rule to be 24 hours in advance.

We were only successful once in making reservations because they were all gobbled up on the first day.
Good luck.
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 10:32 PM
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24 hours is he rule, but good luck. Freestyling is not what it sounds like. On the POH, it was be lucky to get what you want and who you know who can help you.
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 10:34 PM
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You can make them as soon as you get on the ship. We made them 4 or 5 days in advance. Once we try to make them our 2nd day on the ship and the day was booked but we were put on a waitlist and notified around noon that they had a cancelation and it all worked out fine. Enjoy!
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Old April 3rd, 2007, 10:56 PM
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the policy was changed about a month of so ago: no more making them when you embark. You can do it only the day prior to wanting them. Call this 24 hours or 36, either way you need to call or visit the restaurant. I happen to like the old way better, but NCL listened to the comment cards and changed the rules. Good luck and do try, at least one specialty restaurant. DH like Cagney's, I am a lover of Le Bistro. NMnita
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Old April 4th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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This new policy is the absolute worst idea. I hated it! I was instructed to call at 8:00 a.m. to make reservations for the following night in Teppanyaki on the Sun. I did this and was given an 8:30 p.m. reservation time for the following evening. When we arrived that evening, we were seated outside Teppanyaki in East Meets West and told that this was all that was available and that we could still order from the Teppanyaki menu even though we weren't seated at the grill. I was ticked to say the least and after a family conference, we decided that the whole appeal of Teppanyaki was the display at the grill and since we were being charged the same amount to get the "cheap seats" we didn't feel it was worth it. So we walked out.
You know what makes me madder? I just realized that I forgot to mention this in my review!
Having to plan my morning around making dinner reservations for the following night is definitely not part of freestyle dining that I appreciate. It is actually more restrictive than traditional cruise dining.
They claim that the reason they implemented this new policy is to deal with the problem of no-shows. There is a much simpler way to deal with this problem, simply charge them the surcharge whether they show or not and a $20 penalty for not showing up which would offset the cost of lost alcohol revenues, or a waiting list in case of cancellations with short notice.
Aside from this situation, our cruise was a glowing success and we enjoyed as much as any cruise we've taken yet. But this was one of the very few low points.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenie weenie
This new policy is the absolute worst idea. I hated it! I was instructed to call at 8:00 a.m. to make reservations for the following night in Teppanyaki on the Sun. I did this and was given an 8:30 p.m. reservation time for the following evening. When we arrived that evening, we were seated outside Teppanyaki in East Meets West and told that this was all that was available and that we could still order from the Teppanyaki menu even though we weren't seated at the grill. I was ticked to say the least and after a family conference, we decided that the whole appeal of Teppanyaki was the display at the grill and since we were being charged the same amount to get the "cheap seats" we didn't feel it was worth it. So we walked out.
You know what makes me madder? I just realized that I forgot to mention this in my review!
Having to plan my morning around making dinner reservations for the following night is definitely not part of freestyle dining that I appreciate. It is actually more restrictive than traditional cruise dining.
They claim that the reason they implemented this new policy is to deal with the problem of no-shows. There is a much simpler way to deal with this problem, simply charge them the surcharge whether they show or not and a $20 penalty for not showing up which would offset the cost of lost alcohol revenues, or a waiting list in case of cancellations with short notice.
Aside from this situation, our cruise was a glowing success and we enjoyed as much as any cruise we've taken yet. But this was one of the very few low points.
Actually we were told by our district manager it was due to requests: I am sure both played a part. The new way was what was used originally and we don't like it either. For us, booking the restaurants the first day was just fine. We still felt it was freestyle as we choose our nights, hours and restaurants based on sea verses port days and what we planned to do in port. I guess we have to live with what they decide and like, you, this isn't going to make or break our cruise. NMnita
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Old April 4th, 2007, 12:07 PM
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No it won't make or break our cruise, but I will definitely be voting with my pocket book. I can tell you we spent 75% less onboard this cruise, then we normally do. We also did not book ship sponsored shore excursions because of past experiences with that department. Really it's too bad, but the good part is that I can take all of the money I saved on this cruise, and spend it on my Carnival Freedom cruise this Thanksgiving.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beenie weenie
No it won't make or break our cruise, but I will definitely be voting with my pocket book. I can tell you we spent 75% less onboard this cruise, then we normally do. We also did not book ship sponsored shore excursions because of past experiences with that department. Really it's too bad, but the good part is that I can take all of the money I saved on this cruise, and spend it on my Carnival Freedom cruise this Thanksgiving.
Now that is the way: save one place so you can spend another. As for shore excursions, we never book via the cruise line anymore. I think it's a good idea for first time cruisers or if you are booking an all day excursion and are worried about getting back to the ship; other than that the prices are too high and the personal attention lacking. This isn't just NCL by the way, it is all cruise lines. Now, back to the dinner situation, Tappanyaki is the worst one due to limited seating: on our first Sun cruise when the policy was like now, we were lucky to have a concierge becasue without him we sould never have gotten a reservation. NMnita
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Old April 4th, 2007, 01:28 PM
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I really hate to jump back in the middle of this one again, but here I go anyway. There were definitely problems with the "reserve everything as soon as you board policy", just like there are with the current 24 or 36 hour policy.

We overhead LOTS of upset cruisers on our November cruise on the Jewel -- mostly new cruisers, or at least new to NCL, who had no idea that they even needed to make reservations for the specialty restaurants, let alone make them as soon as they boarded the ship on Sunday. People who either read the cruise boards or were previous NCL passengers and knew the policy booked all the available seats by about Monday at noon -- leaving other passengers with no opportunity to try the specialty restaurants. We heard several comments that were all phrased basically the same way -- "Why do they call if freestyle cruising if you have to make reservations so far in advance?"

I don't know that the current solution is the best policy, but I do think it gives MORE people an opportunity to try the specialty restaurants. We noticed on our cruise, just with the people from our roll-call, that there were several couples who dined almost every night in one of the specialty restaurants. If you have lots of couples going that route, combined with making all those reservations on boarding day, it doesn't take long for the available tables to be reserved.

Personally, I'd like to see them go with some sort of "outstanding reservations" policy, where you can still reserve for any night of the cruise, but having each cabin limited to one, or possibly two, outstanding reservations. I'm just not sure that the technology is in place to allow that to work at the present time. After all, not even the "waiting time" screens that are supposed to indicate restaurant capacity are functioning correctly -- or at least they didn't seem to be on our sailing.

Any other suggestions??
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Old April 4th, 2007, 03:15 PM
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Ute Fam, I like your idea alot! The restaurant I wanted to eat in the most, was the one I couldn't get into. With your idea, I might have been able to do it. Good idea!
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Old April 4th, 2007, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ute_fan
I really hate to jump back in the middle of this one again, but here I go anyway. There were definitely problems with the "reserve everything as soon as you board policy", just like there are with the current 24 or 36 hour policy.

We overhead LOTS of upset cruisers on our November cruise on the Jewel -- mostly new cruisers, or at least new to NCL, who had no idea that they even needed to make reservations for the specialty restaurants, let alone make them as soon as they boarded the ship on Sunday. People who either read the cruise boards or were previous NCL passengers and knew the policy booked all the available seats by about Monday at noon -- leaving other passengers with no opportunity to try the specialty restaurants. We heard several comments that were all phrased basically the same way -- "Why do they call if freestyle cruising if you have to make reservations so far in advance?"

I don't know that the current solution is the best policy, but I do think it gives MORE people an opportunity to try the specialty restaurants. We noticed on our cruise, just with the people from our roll-call, that there were several couples who dined almost every night in one of the specialty restaurants. If you have lots of couples going that route, combined with making all those reservations on boarding day, it doesn't take long for the available tables to be reserved.

Personally, I'd like to see them go with some sort of "outstanding reservations" policy, where you can still reserve for any night of the cruise, but having each cabin limited to one, or possibly two, outstanding reservations. I'm just not sure that the technology is in place to allow that to work at the present time. After all, not even the "waiting time" screens that are supposed to indicate restaurant capacity are functioning correctly -- or at least they didn't seem to be on our sailing.

Any other suggestions??
Sounds like a winner to me; if, other specialty dining rooms don't fill up the day or then you would have the option to book another one. Actually we had a worse problem on Celebrity. They have one specialty dining room, we were celebrating our granddaughters 21st BD, had no idea we could book prior to embarkation. When we got on the ship the first day we learned the restauratnt was filled for the entire cruise. No special BD dinner for her. NMnita
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Old April 4th, 2007, 07:10 PM
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I'd like to see NCL go to booking one reservation "pre-cruise" for that kind of specialty occassion -- preferably on the website. However, given that you can't even book a room off the website currently, I'm not holding my breath. It would also be nice if they could get some sort of interactive TV system in place where you could check availability and make reservations from your cabin. A girl can always dream .
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Old April 5th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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when we cruised the Pride of America in October of 2005(honeymoon) we had a penthouse and a concierge so we got into any restaraunt when we wanted to or within an hour of when we called. Another honeymoon couple of our age was trying to get into the Italian place for three nights and they kept getting shut out. When they sat us down we were at a table for four so we invited the other couple in. They would have never made it otherwise. More seating in the specialities would be better and alleviate some of these problems.
In this past September we took the NCL Spirit to the eastern Carib (Tortola was great!) and had no problem on a sold out ship getting into any of the specialities and we didn't have a concierge this time.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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Am I reading this right?? The problems with reservations are only in the speciality resturants not the others???? So if we want to dine in the pay ones we should make resies quick.....but the free ones no problems????

Just want to make sure seeings how we're doing Alaska in May on the Star........looking forward to trying NCL.........

Thanks...........



Sharon
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Old April 5th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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You don't need reservations for the main restaurants. In fact, I don't think they'll normally make them unless you have a fairly large party -- maybe 8 or more?? There have been some people who have complained about a wait to get into the main restaurants, but we've seldom had a problem. One other small comment -- not all the "specialty " restaurants have a charge. The Italian restaurants are normally no additional charge, but do require reservations. Read your freestyle daily carefully when you board for all the information.

We had one night on the old Sea where we couldn't get into one of the dining rooms with our group of 6 after getting our photos taken for "formal night", but they called back to the other main dining room and were able to seat us immediately. Another trip, also on the Sea, we had a wait the last evening (again for a party of 6) -- but it was because we'd requested to be seated in a certain server's area, and her tables were all full. If we hadn't wanted to wait for her, we could have been seated immediately. We cheerfully went back to our cabin to pack and they called us when a table opened up. We do tend to eat fairly early and are usually seated by about 6:30. A lot of the complaints about waiting time seems to be from people who choose to eat between 7 and 8, which seems to be the "preferred" dining time.

Have a great time on the Star! We're going to Alaska on the Pearl in May -- and I can't wait to get back to Alaska. From my viewpoint, freestyle works wonderfully in Alaska, as there's so much beautiful scenery that you may find yourself wanting to wait a little longer to eat so you can keep watching the scenery. It's very nice not to have to leave your preferred viewing spot to spend time dressing up for dinner and meeting some predetermined dining policy!
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Old April 5th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LS80
Am I reading this right?? The problems with reservations are only in the speciality resturants not the others???? So if we want to dine in the pay ones we should make resies quick.....but the free ones no problems????

Just want to make sure seeings how we're doing Alaska in May on the Star........looking forward to trying NCL.........

Thanks...........



Sharon
the regular dining rooms do not need reservations. In fact unless you are a large group you would have no reason to do this. Some have experienced a 10 ro 15 minute wait if you choose to dine between 7pm and maybe 7:45. We have cruised freestyle 6 times and never waited except once when it was a group of 20. That time even with reservations we waited about 15 minutes or so and didin't get to sit all together but in the same vacinity which was fine. .yes, you will want to make reservations for the specialty dining rooms 24 hours (or the day before actually) ahead of time. Blue Lagoon isn't an extra charge eatery so you can always grab a quick meal (snack) without reservations.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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when you all get back from Alaska please post your reviews and opinions. we want to take a cruise there soon and need to know some dos and donts.

THANKS
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Old April 5th, 2007, 01:10 PM
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I've got a review of our trip to Alaska on the Sun in June, 2004 on another website, and will be posting one from this upcoming cruise after we return. In the meantime, if you've got any specific questions, feel free to ask. I'm by no means an expert on Alaska, but so far it's been our favorite place to cruise!
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Old April 5th, 2007, 08:33 PM
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Thanks ute & nmnita........just the 2 of us so we shouldn't have any problems at the regular dining area then........this will be our third trip to Alaska bur first on NCL......really looking forward to the freestyle......

Thanks again........



Sharon
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Old April 8th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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Default Dining on the Star

On the Star, you need reservations at all the speciality restaurants and also at the Endless Summer and La Trattoria restaurants.

I liked the idea of being able to make your reservations 36 hours in advance.

The only speciality restaurant we ate at was Le Bistro. It was great! The Aqua and Verseilles restaurants were very good tood. Endless Summer....eh....Chi Chi's on the Sea.

The Market Cafe seemed to be where everyone ate. I only ate there at breakfast and wasn't impressed.

Since we were with an organized group, the travel agent had booked several tables at Aqua for several different nights for our group. It worked out well. Other nights, we had no wait at all, not even for window seats for two.
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